Try as we might, even adults get addicted to their gadgets such as the iPhones, tablets and even the television! So, how are we going to tell children that using gadgets too much is not good for them too?
We have all read the disadvantages of giving children too much screen time. Among the familiar downfalls are gaining poor eyesight, potential obesity issues, a possibility of violent tendencies and poor social skills.
Children aged under 2 are not recommended to use gadgets for long hours because it impairs brain development and can cause attention deficit, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and a decreased ability to self-regulate.
Older children such as those nearing their teens may face sleep deprivation because they find it hard to pull themselves away from computer games and online streaming shows. The lack of sleep will also lead to health issues, crankiness and later on poor school progress.
All of these negative outcomes put parents in a deeper and tougher spot because the world is moving forward to a technologically advanced future and the kids need to be ready for that future.
So, what are parents going to do? Banning gadgets outright in the home is not an ideal solution because studies have shown teens that have gone through zero screen time are also unhappy.
A recent research concluded that the ideal amount of screen time is between 1 and 5 hours per week but has to be combined with lots of face-to-face interactions through sports and hobbies.
On the issue regarding screen time reducing the ability of teens to read human emotions in others, Michelle Dickinson aka Nanogirl, a nanotechnologist and science educator put forward a suggestion. She suggested teens get some time away from gadgets by heading outdoors to help them reset and re-engage with society.
She also points out that screen time isn’t necessarily bad. Students in New Zealand use iPads, Chromebooks and other devices to do their work and there’s no evidence that showed it was harmful to their learning. The study included social media usage, texting, gaming and videochatting as a part of ‘screentime.’
Mohd Hakimi Jauhari, a parent to two kids, believes in balance. He found that responsible gadget usage helped his son improve his vocabulary and that gave his son an advantage when he started preschool.
A ‘fun’ way to limit gadget usage is to have a timetable where you can sneakily schedule in other tasks and chores. He still reminds parents to watch out for violent content online that has your child’s favourite characters as it gets children to click in to view.
What are some ways you’ve used to manage your child’s screen time? Share in the comments below to help out other parents!
Feature image from Word of Woof