Screens have become an inevitable part of your life and it is hard to get away with this fact. Kids spend most of their time glued to TV screens, laptops, and video games and hence miss upon several opportunities to play outside, learn new things and connect with other children of their age group. As a result, parents face immense difficulty in monitoring the exposure and limiting screen time of children.
Most parents complain that screens have robbed away their family time. Some specific amount of screen time is good for child’s social, cognitive as well as educational development. However, establishing a balance is important. Since children are too young to create a balance between physical and online activities on their own, parent intervention is necessary. For responsible parents, it becomes a responsibility to get involved when educational tools start transforming into a source of distraction from life’s aims and goals.
How Is Excessive Screen Time Affecting Your Child’s Mental and Physical Health?
Many studies reveal that kids who spend more than required time in front of the screen might develop issues like weight gain, insomnia, etc. Excessive screen time can actually ruin your child’s physical as well as mental health. Children who are prone to high levels of screen time often face the following problems.
- Such children become obese due to inactivity and reduction in movements.
- They develop the tendency of snacking while sitting in front of the screen and being under the influence of advertisements they consume drinks and foods that have poor nutritional value.
- Such kids are less energetic and often get tired easily.
- They usually maintain a poor posture, which can put them at the risk of long-term back pain.
- Kids who indulge in prolonged screen time are more prone to mental issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions and mood fluctuations.
- They often live in a virtual world and are less connected with the realities of life.
- These children are at a greater risk of cyber bullying and cyber crimes as they spend most of their time in online chat rooms, playing games, texting and instant messaging.
- Such children often face issues in relationships because of their limited social skills.
Tips for Limiting Screen Time for Kids
It is understandable that with the presence of screens everywhere, it can be pretty challenging for you as a parent to cut down on your kids’ screen time. Here, we bring to you a few tips to keep your children off the devices.
You need to spend some quality time with your kids. Listen to what they have to say. Amaze them with a series of talks according to their interests and tastes. You can talk about animals, birds, planets, plants, nature, etc. In fact, many more topics can capture your child’s interest. The point is to make him/her understand that there are many interesting things other than the digital world. Put forth the point that there is a range of activities that kids can indulge in to limit their screen time, like cycling, skating, drawing, etc.
Keep Your Eyes Open
As a responsible parent, you must take some time out from your busy schedule to preview apps, games, and programs that your child is playing with or viewing. You need to make sure that he is not accessing anything that is appropriate for his age. Make use of parental controls to filter the content that you feel is not right for him. Allow your child to access devices under your proper supervision.
Don’t Give Them Their Own Devices
Giving children their own devices can be a big mistake. It is better to make devices available in shared spaces. That way it becomes easy for you to monitor your child’s screen activity. You can also set a particular time for each child in order to avoid daily battles. As far as the time limit is concerned, be clear and consistent.
Set Rules And Teach Your Child To Obey Them
Encourage your child to enjoy tech-free playtime. You must not allow your child to make use of media entertainment while studying or completing homework. Fix daily or weekly screen time limit and make sure that your child sticks to it. Children should be in a habit of leaving their devices outside the bedroom for charging. Do not encourage your child to view devices prior to sleeping.
Improve Your Own Screen Time Habits
Children do what they see. The best way to teach your child is by doing what you want them to do. Therefore, it is important for you to keep a check on your own screen time. You can start with the elimination of background TV. It is you, who has to model healthy habits and they are sure to follow suit.
You Might Also Like to Read: A Parents’ Guide to Ensure Child Internet Safety
These days, parents are dealing with challenges that the earlier generations would never have even thought about. This makes it even all the more hard to keep children away from the magnetic pull of the online world. Try these tips to limit your child’s screen time and to teach him the right things that can help him to combat with the highly addictive nature of the digital world. If you are looking for more tips on how to reduce screen time for kids, prefer keeping them engaged in some creative fun crafts activity that does not bore them.