Excessive Screen Time for Kids-How to Keep Your Child away from Screens?
It’s been quiet a few years since we get to see the parks and playgrounds all deserted unlike earlier when the playgrounds used to be full of children playing different games with their friends and living their childhood to the most. Reason being, the excessive exposure of technology to children at an early age in this digital revolution.
Moreover, the pandemic has also affected our daily lives drastically. As we all know the year 2020 has turned our lives upside down and it’s been over 15 months in this pandemic. Things have become bad to worse, as being mostly restricted at home, adults as well as children have been glued to their bright screens for much more time than ever before.
Parents are working from home while schools have been replaced by online classes thus children are forced to sit in front of a phone or a laptop for a fixed time every day. Moreover, not being able to socialize physically, children have been using mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and T.V’s misusing their time at home.
Unfortunately, most parents try to escape for some work or personal time by giving away mobile phones or letting kids watch T.V continuously for hours. Little do they know that this escape route can have a hazardous impact on their kid’s development. Owing to the lack of time that parents have for their children these days, children and their handheld devices have become best of friends and are almost inseparable.
It has become a common scene of nearly every household where kids especially the younger ones are constantly using smartphones for hours either for watching videos or playing video games. The worst part is that many parents have no control over the time kids use these devices. Moreover, they are often unable to take these devices back from the little ones all thanks to the fear of kids getting irritable and unmanageable.
The mobile radiation and harm caused to their eyesight from these wireless devices are not the only side effects of prolonged staring at display devices. The devices taking over meaningful activities like exercising, reading books, sleeping, playing, socializing and many more are causes of grave concern.
Symptoms of Excessive Screen Time for Kids
According to experts, more than two hours of screen time regularly can have noticeably catastrophic impacts on your child’s health. Some common symptoms of excessive screen time in kids are:
- Neck/shoulder pain
- Strained and dry eyes, vision-related issues
Apart from these physical signs, disturbed sleeping patterns or inability to sleep well can also be a result of the overuse of digital devices. Hyperactivity and behavioural shifts like aggression, regular crying spells, and similar unusual behavioural issues can be due to too much screen time. If you notice your kids busy on their devices even when people are around, that surely is a symptom of more screen time for kids. Moreover, if the child is disoriented and does not know what to do without their screens, it is an alarming situation for parents to act early as possible.
How to Keep Your Child away from the Screen?
Wondering how to handle the screen time for your kids and afraid about how your child would react if you turn off their devices? Well, if your child is already overusing the screens, then you might have to go slow and take one step at a time towards restricting the use of digital devices. Snatching away the devices or forcefully trying to stop their use of screens might leave your child grumbling and throwing tantrums. Thus this won’t be of any help.
Here are some tips that parents can implement for restricting screen time for their kids:
- Set Time Limit and Child Locks for use of Gadgets: With digital devices becoming an unavoidable part of our daily lives, it is mandatory to set time limits and monitor time for using these devices. The new-age phones provide settings for fixing the time limit for phone usage and child locks to give limited and preferred access to your kids. Be an energetic parent: Spend time with your kids and plan new activities with them. Spend more time with them giving them less room to use devices. You also need to be role models for kids not overusing screens yourself.
- Device-free Meal Time: Ensure that all members of your family keep their mobile phones and other gadgets at bay during mealtime. Meals must be device and gadget-free.
- Indulge in Fun Activities with Kids: Encourage your kids to get involved in various activities like playing outdoors, board games, reading books, solving puzzles, etc. This will leave them with lesser time to use screens.
- Sunglasses or Spectacles: Make your child wear eyeglasses or sunglasses while using devices. This will help to reduce the amount of blue light that harms the eyes.
- Use Devices Smartly: If technology is used in the right proportion and the right direction, it can be a boon for making your kids learn useful things. Parents need to be aware of what the kids need to watch.