How much time should children spend looking at the screen?
Nowadays the reliance on technology has become heavier than ever, not only for adults but for the majority of children too. Reports show that children spend more than a year on digital devices before even reaching the age of eight. So, what is the recommended time to spend in front of a screen?
More and more kids choose to stay at home on the sofa and watch TV all day. Instead of going out and playing games with their friends, children prefer to play games and entertain themselves on their iPads, PlayStations, Xboxes and other digital devices. As tempting as it is to have children sit and behave, it is incredibly dangerous for both their physical and mental health to be stuck in front of the screen for more than two hours a day.
Two hours a day is a good amount of time, allowing children to do their homework or unwind, but then when it comes to games and friends, the outdoors is the best place to be. It is vital to teach children how to socialise and be open to new friendships and people in general. This is why playing outdoors has proven to be incredibly efficient and important when it comes to a healthy social life.
The effects of children spending more time on their devices than they should
Letting your child play all day may sound harmless, but it is something that easily becomes a habit. Due to this, more and more children choose the “sitting” way of life, which in turn may lead to them developing obesity. The lack of physical activity and the easy access to fast and unhealthy snacks is something that almost always comes hand in hand with the problem. Unfortunately, obesity amongst children has rapidly increased over the years.
Another negative effect to unregulated time in front of the screen is that more playgrounds are likely to close if children refuse to go out and play. Some seem to find playgrounds less entertaining in comparison to all the possibilities that online games are able to provide. Not going out to play means that those who do have less friends to play with.
Constantly looking at the screen for long periods of time is extremely dangerous and unhealthy for their eyes. Having children exposed to this from an early age leads to them developing eye problems earlier in life and having to wear glasses. Poor vision and dry eyes are just some of the many problems that may appear thanks to the constant exposure to computer screens. As well as making for an unhealthy lifestyle and increasing risks of health issues, more time in front of the screen from an early age can be damaging to the social skills of a child.
How you can help
It is really important to encourage children to go and play outside at every opportunity they have.
Parents should not let children stay in front of their devices all day. Keeping an eye and establishing some restrictions is really important in order to prevent such problems for your child. Create a time slot to allocate to outdoor play and make sure you are both clear on the maximum amount of time to be spent looking at screens.
Creating interesting playgrounds
Having playgrounds that are in a good condition is also very important in order for children to take interest and go out and play. The more colourful and fun the playground looks, the more kids will want to play. One way to accomplish this is to keep the playgrounds clean and renovated, while some playground markings will also help when it comes to making the playground aesthetically pleasing and entertaining.
Spending more time together
Reading, drawing and playing games at home is also a great way to divide kids’ attention from technology. Choose reading time instead of letting children watch videos, get together and play some games instead of just leaving them to play on their phones.
Ultimately, it is up to us as adults to help our kids be healthier! Make sure you teach children that they should not spend more than two hours a day on their devices and encourage them to spend more time outside playing and meeting new friends!