8 Effective ways to reduce screen time in children
According to research, by one of the leading Optical, about half of the world will require specs by the year 2050. According to research conducted in 2019, 25.3% of kids aged 2 to 17 years of age, wear glasses and the numbers are predicted to rise in the future. About 50% of the children suffered from DES (Digital Eye Strain) and got spectacles during the COVID time due to the increasing prevalence of the online classes. The Tech-Age has made children more vulnerable to getting myopia from a very early age and is catching serious concern from parents
What is Screen Time?
Screen time is the amount of time spent looking at the screens of digital devices we use in our day-to-day life. They may be TV screens, androids, tablets, video games and the list go on. It includes activities like browsing the internet, scrolling through social media, watching movies continuously without taking a break, and while reading e-books. Monitoring of the screen time is essential for the betterment of your health.
Impacts of excessive Screen Time
The child may suffer from physical health problems, such as obesity, due to lack of physical activities. It can also cause postural problems afterwards as most of the time, kids sit in an awkward posture while operating the devices. According to WHO, the major regulating body, there occurs thinning of the major area of brain which is very important for the development of cognitive abilities
Mental Health Problems
Excess screens can lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. It may affect the regular rhythm of the cycles going on in the body. Many phylactic problems have developed according to WHO
Social interactions are much reduced as one starts spending much time on tech. This can stop him from acquiring better communication skills, public interactions, vocabulary and may result in growing inferiority complex within him
While spending much of his time in the digital world, the study times are greatly reduced which results in detrimenting academic performance. Writing abilities are greatly hampered.
Multiple eye problems
Conditions like myopia, hypermetropia which are generally adult age problems start affecting the kids from a very early age. Digital eye strain leads to headache, teary eyes and burning sensation sometimes.
Shocking Screen Usage time recorded for various age groups
- Average screen time for kids ages 0 to 2 – 49 minutes a day
- Average screen time for kids ages 2 to 4 – 2 to 2.5 hours a day
- Average screen time for kids ages 5 to 8 – Over 3 hours a day
- Average screen time for tweens ages 8 to 12 – Almost 5 hours a day
- Average screen time for teens – Almost 7.5 hours a day
These are the surprising results according to research by FAAO on the screen time usage by various age groups and it has grown ever since the pandemic hit.
Recommended screen time for various age groups
- For kids aged 0 to 2 years- It must be less than hour a day. Try to introduce him to the electronics, keeping in mind of the balance that needs to be maintained and also the content type must be kept at watch. Try not to get him into the addiction of phones as it may be harmful
- 2-5 years- Less than one hour on each weekday, and less than 3 hours on weekends. The content must be educational and prefer video games and TV shows on larger screens
- Kids aged 6 years of age and teens- Not more than 3 hours on weekdays and 4 hours on weekend. If they require it for school works, make sure they are not using it above the required time
As a parent, you might be worried after listening to the consequences. So, here are a few tips on how to reduce screen time.
8 Effective ways to reduce child’s screen time
1. Leading the children by example is essential
Kids at their early ages do get influenced by their parents works and habits. So parents need to limit their screen time in order to stop their child’s excess screen usage to set positive effects on their children. If you use them in a healthy way, your child is likely to do the same. It will help them to balance their screen time with other physical activities.
2. No screens in bedrooms
With devices being available in the bedrooms, it can easily affect their sleeping schedule. Bright light from the screens can make their brain think it is daytime, making it harder for them to fall asleep. Approximately 20% of children, take mobiles to their bed affecting their good night’s sleep which is very important for the child’s growth and well-being. Keeping devices and Screens in a central location at home can help u monitoring the screen time of their children.
3. Indulge in physical activities with them
Take them to the parks and playgrounds and play outdoor games with them. This will help them build their muscles and fasten their physical growth. Indoor games like chess, puzzles, ludo, carrom can also be played which helps them in their mental growth. Take them to outings including trekking, picnics, adventure parks and much more.
4. Teach them in an effective way
Children listen to their parents if told about the proper usage of digital devices in an effective way. They can be spoken about the bad effects of excessive screen time. Be more like a friend and your child will listen to you. Make them understand that meal time isn’t screen time, putting the screens off during eating and do it as a family.
5. Use of parental controls
Special settings in your phones, tablets & TV’s can help you control the screen time of your children. These controls can lock some websites & games not suitable for them and also set the limits of using the screen time.
6. Rewarding good behaviours
You can reward your child with his favourite snack, his favourite comic, or a small gift if he does his activity using less screen time. This will motivate them to carry out such tasks and your task will be made much easier
7. Designate screen free days
Make sure your child is getting screen free days and ensure he doesn’t get angry at this idea by educating him on the same. On such days, you can organize social gatherings of their friends at your house, which will not make it boring and encourage social activities which improve their communication and public interactions.
8. Talk to teachers & caregivers
Talk to teachers and caregivers about the screen time of your children. Teachers can help in making an appropriate time limit for screen uses & caregivers can be helpful while you are not around your children.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep watch on your children when they are at developing stage. Excessive screen time can cause deformities that are mostly irreversible and as responsible parents one must make aware their children of the usage of technology in a better and informative way. These all points can be included in our day to day lives and are easy to imply