If you are concerned that your child may be spending too much time in front of screens, you are not alone. Parents know that too much screen time can be bad for kids. But just how bad is it? More and more studies are revealing that excessive screen time is even more detrimental to your child than previously thought.
On average, children spend 6 ½ hours in front of a screen each day. This is an alarming and sobering statistic, especially considering the current recommendations. Kids need at least 1 hour of physical activity a day and 9-11 hours of sleep each night. They also should spend less than 2 hours a day using cell phones, tablets, computers, and televisions.
In fact, the latest research has shown that kids who follow all of these recommendations are actually smarter. They had the sharpest intellects and the highest scoring cognitive skills. Sadly, only 5% of the kids involved in the study follow all 3 recommendations for sleep, exercise, and screen time. Furthermore, 30% of them don’t follow any of these guidelines.
To live a happy, well-balanced life, children need to experience a variety of activities daily. Excessive screen time leaves less time for play and creative activities that children need for healthy development.
The Effects Of Too Much Screen Time
The Mayo Clinic reports that too much or poor quality screen time can lead to:
- Increased risk for obesity
- Violent behavior
- Sleep disturbance
Your child’s habits are created with everything that they do. Once screen habits are formed, they are difficult to break. Children will find it harder and harder to step away from the screens and engage in other activities of life.
With 25% of kids under age 6 owning a smartphone, they are forming these habits at a very young age. By age 7, kids are already becoming less active. Of the parents surveyed, 8 out of 10 didn’t even monitor their children’s screen time each day. They simply had no idea how much time their small children were even spending sitting and staring at screens each day.
Do Older Kids Need Screen Time Limits?
It is not only young children who are at risk, though. The recommendations for screen time don’t change just because your kids get older.
The effects of excessive screen time in older kids can look different, however, and may be more difficult to recognize. They can become increasingly emotional, have difficulty interacting with peers, be hyperactive, and they may start doing poorly in school. They can also show signs of depression and become withdrawn.
The Happiest Kids Don’t Find Their Joy In Screens
There is a lot of data supporting how screen time can negatively affect your child’s health and even their outlook on life. Nonetheless, there is also data revealing how you can combat a screen addiction and its many side effects in your home.
The results of one study showed that the happiest teens spent less than one hour a day in front of screens and more time with friends. God wants us to spend time with one another rather than alone in front of a screen. Whether it’s eating dinner together, listening to an audio drama together, or simply enjoying each other’s company, humans are meant to be together.
Don’t Let Screen Time Replace Connection
Connection with others is irreplaceable. Make sure that screen time is kept in check in your home. The health and well-being of your family depend on it.
You may also consider reading another Live The Adventure Letter article: Battling Screen Addiction In Kids With Audio Dramas
What’s your take on what the new statistics reveal about children and their use of screen time? Let us know in the comments below.