Child Experts and Parents Are Raising Concerns About long screen time for children as it can cause serious health issues in children in the future.
We are living in a techno-driven world and just like us, our children are already adapting themselves with the dynamics of the technology. But the only major difference is that the younger generation are getting hung up on screens like a magnet and this trend is becoming quite problematic regarding the health issues of the young children.
Though there have been researches on this topic, with some claiming that a few hours screen time is good for children, now scientists are painting a clearer picture of the effects of too long screen time on smart phones and computers.
You might be wondering where’s the evidence behind all this claims?
Too Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Brain Activity and Body
It’s always been a controversial topic to talk about whether smartphones and other gadgets are in fact, a healthy option or not for humans. Well, there are tons of research and studies, that have constantly pointed out that staring at screens for long time have serious physical and mental health issues in both adults and children. A new study conducted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by a group of researchers studied the time span the children spent on screens and the time span they spent reading actual books. The childrens’ brain were scanned after each activity to analyse the active areas of the brain.
The findings showed that the ‘screen time was linked to poorer activity in areas that governed language and cognitive control while reading was linked to better connectivity in those regions.” This is not it, guys. Another study found that the entire brain pattern and chemistry of children who used smartphones and internet a lot was different from than that of non-techno-addicted kids.
Another recent study also showed that the young teens who spent more time on screens using social media, internet, gaming and texting thought about suicide more than those who spent less time doing those activities. Final report showed about 48% of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones had thought about suicide or made plans for it, while only 28% of the teens had such thoughts who spent only one hour per day on their phones.
Children at The Risk of Obesity, Heart Problems, Stress And So On
San Francisco-based Common Sense Media published a report recently that showed that on average, the teens (13-18 yrs old) are spending 6 hours 40 minutes (almost 7 hours) on screen based recreational media and it includes watching TV, or videos on PC, browsing internet, spending time on social media or playing video games. This numbers not at all, include time spent on screens for home works and assignments.
This means that school-age children are spending 6-7 hours without any physical activity. Most are even sleep deprived, spending a lot of time in complete isolation without any social interaction or outdoor activities. This increases the risk of some serious health issues like obesity, depression and heart problems like heart attack, stroke and so on. A study conducted in Korea to find out the association between screen time and metabolic syndrome in children found that children who spent more than 35 hours per week of screen time faced greater risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those who spent less than 16 hours per week.
Not only this, most children love to snack while watching their favorite cartoon show or while playing video games and this ultimately leads to increase in weight, causing obesity. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for heart problem and other cardiovascular diseases.
Tips To Limit Screen Time For Kids
Its obviously a tough task for parents to limit screen time for the kids because it’s nearly impossible to keep your children away from the smart phones, gadgets and computers. Nevertheless, after much research and insights from child experts, I’ve gathered some of the tips to limit screen time for your kids.
- Start with your self: Children are bound to imprint on their parents and setting a good example in front of your children by either reading books or cooking delicious meal rather than engaging onself on computers and phone has been found to be effective.
- Make the bedroom a screen-free zone: Thinking of buying a new plasma TV for your son? My advice, don’t do it! Screen based devices like TV or computers in bedroom disrupts the sleep of your child leading to severe problems like insomnia.
- Encourage outdoor activity
- Encourage regular breaks during reading
- Set an exact time for screen recreation like 1-2 hours with frequent breaks
- Introduce fun activities other than video games such as painting, cycling, playing catch or playing with your pet and so on.
- Make strict rules like no phones during dinner