Screen time is something that parents have had to start managing more and more as years go by. And now, as some schooling has moved online and people aren’t supposed to leave their homes, there is a worry that children might be spending too much time online.
The main worry is coming from screen time in general not just necessarily time online. People of all ages at the moment are spending so much time looking at their laptops for work, their phone for news and their tv for relaxation and its getting to be a large problem, but it can be especially harmful to children who are still developing. What are the major issues with too much screen time?
Statistics have linked excessive screen time with a link to obesity. Screen time activities are almost exclusively locked in one position with little to no physical movement and too much of this means no exercise. Combined with the fact that watching tv or playing video games is often paired with having a high-calorie snack or a super sugary drink means that a lot of weight gain is possible if not monitored and controlled properly.
Lack of Sleep
Excessive screen time has also linked to a considerable lack of sleep. The blu light that most modern digital screens emit prompts the same response in the brain that sunlight does. So excessive use of screens of an evening effectively tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime and therefore your body tries to keep you awake. While there are some studies suggesting that older adults get used to this blue light, it can be very harmful to children.
Increased screen time has also had a link to increasing possibilities of depression, anxiety, and attention disorders in young children. This is due to how the internet is designed. It’s made to throw as much stuff at you as possible to keep you using it. Apps like Instagram and tik-tok effectively provide an infinite scroll of content that’s the only purpose is to keep you on the app which can be very harmful and addictive to children.
They are the dangers of spending too much time online but how are you supposed to know if your child is spending too much time online? What are the signs? There are two major ones. Emotional Reactions and being pre-occupied with online life.
Emotional reactions to not being allowed online are a telltale sign they could be addicted to the internet. If they are becoming angry or stressed when they are interrupted or get moody when they are denied access to their phone or computer, it might be time to step in and limit the time they get to spend online.
If they are becoming too preoccupied with online life you’ll notice things like the constant need to get online when they aren’t, constant checking of things like social media and emails, always asking for level help or even they will start losing relationships with friends and falling behind on homework in an effort to stay online.
Although this has been mostly the bad elements of the internet it’s important not to cut your children off completely. It can be a great tool for learning and communication when it’s used right. Just like everything, it’s very useful in moderation and as a parent, you should take the responsibility to be involved in what your child is using the internet for and how you can limit the use of it in a safe way that isn’t completely restrictive.