How Much Screen Time is “Too Much” for My Child?
Screen time is a growing concern for many parents, with the burning question being ‘how much is too much?’ As we become increasingly aware of the negative impact of excessive screen time, many parents are keen to know how to strike the perfect balance. There is no golden rule for screen time, the emphasis should be on setting reasonable limits and figuring out what works best for your family. To help you understand the risks of excessive screen time and help you establish healthy, practical boundaries, an independent school in London have shared the following advice.
Know the Risks
Experts argue that excessive screen time can have neurological and physical effects on children. The light emitted from electronic devices can affect a child’s circadian rhythm, meaning they will struggle to fall asleep at night. This will have an effect on their ability to concentrate the following day which could impact their academic capability, with studies showing a connection between excessive screen time and lower academic achievement. Children who spend a lot of time on electronic devices are also more likely to be overweight or even obese, as they will spend a large portion of their time inactive, rather than engaging in physical play and moving their bodies.
What to Look Out For
Changes in mood and behaviour can sometimes indicate your child is spending too much time with their screens. If you notice that your child is regularly overstimulated, or has unexpected waves of irritability or aggression, this could be a sign that they should be spending less time on their devices. Children who become increasingly withdrawn from the family and seem to prefer to spend time on their own with their device rather than engaging with others may also need to have screen time reduced. Changes in sleeping patterns or a sudden irritability in the morning may be another side effect to be aware of as it indicated they are not getting enough quality sleep. Of course, none of these symptoms are exclusively a result of excess screen time, but they are worth looking out for if you’re concerned.
Find a Balance
As technology advances, electronic devices are becoming more of a staple in our everyday lives, therefore it may not be practical to eliminate screen time completely, the key is to find a healthy balance and set boundaries. You should focus on establishing family rules that limit the use of screens, such as: no screen time before school, no screens an hour before bedtime, no devices at the dinner table. Filling your child’s time with more enriching activities is another way to limit screen time. Have your child join a club or a sports team or organise family games nights. The more time they are engaging with social or physical activities the less opportunity they will have to pick up their devices.
Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
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