When it comes to limiting screen time, both children and adults can benefit from less time spent focusing on their phones, TV, computers, or any device with a screen. In this article, you will find 10 reasons to limit screen time and why it could help improve your child’s overall health.
According to the AAP, parents are encouraged to limit screen time to no more than one or two hours a day for kids ages 2 and up. However, the average child ages 2 and up, typically spends approximately 7 hours a day looking at screens.
10 reasons to limit screen time
Avoid Hiding from Problems
Of our 10 reasons to limit screen time, this one is probably the most common issue we all face. Even as adults, we most likely fall guilty with hiding from our realities. It is very easy to hide behind screen time to avoid hiding from problems.
The brain is a muscle and working through problems is a challenge. The brain will immediately choose the path of least resistance and an easy path is to avoid it all together. Screen time allows children to ignore what may be going on cognitively and focus on a virtual reality.
Limiting screen time will encourage your child to focus on their own reality and not to hide from it.
Children of all ages who focus on screen time as a coping mechanism to avoid real life challenges will grow up lacking important life skills, and may suffer from depression.
It is important to encourage children to take active steps to make changes that will help decrease depression in their life. Such as facing a fear or speaking up when something doesn’t feel right.
Life is filled with obstacles and it is important to raise children to openly express their feelings.
Open communication will support a child’s ability to decrease depression during difficult times.
If a child uses screen time to hide from problems, they may experience longer periods of sadness or depression than those who are able to cope without hiding behind screen time.
It is important to teach children to face life head-on as opposed to behind a screen.
It is recommended that screen time be avoided at least one hour before going to bed. Children that sleep next to cell phones or with the TV on are likely to get restless night’s sleep, impacting their day ahead.
The mind needs time to unwind before falling asleep. Encouraging your child to read before bed is a healthy nightly routine to draw attention away from screens.
Screen time causes headaches. Whether it is staring at a computer screen, watching TV, or looking down at a phone or tablet, it puts strain on the neck, shoulders and eyes.
Screen time should be limited to avoid frequent headaches, as well as stress on muscles. Children of a young age are not able to express when they are suffering from a headache so their behavior may be difficult to comprehend. Setting limits on screen time will prevent frequent headaches.
Less time spent on devices with screens, means more time spent on what is going on around your child. Whether it is at a family function or out with friends, your child will be encouraged to focus on the current moment instead of what is on their device.
This will also help their memory as they will remember experiences more vividly as they lived them without being distracted by screen time.
Higher Level of Physical Activity
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, research has shown that the average child spends approximately 7 hours a day with screen time.
Children who are limited on their screen time each day may be more likely to do things outside. Such as sports or spend time playing with friends. Promoting physical activity will increase a child’s overall health.
Better Overall Health
As mentioned above, children who are limited on screen time will spend more time being physically active. The more active a child is, the more increased their energy level will be and the better their overall health will be.
If a child spends too much time focusing on video games or TV programs, they will spend a lot of time in a seated position. Time adds up quickly and it easy to forget to stretch, take a brief walk, or give the eyes a rest.
Promote Social Interaction
Nothing is worse than being with others who won’t put their phone down. Children have the same issue when in social settings with a screen device in tow.
It is so easy to get sucked into a screen and forget to focus on the company around you. Limiting screen time will promote social interaction and encourage your child to connect with friends and family in social settings.
A great example of this is having a no phones at the dinner table rule. Same goes with having the TV on during dinner.
Increased Bonding Time Together with Family
Another reason from our 10 reasons to limit screen time follows us from the reason directly above. Promoting social interaction also fosters an increased bonding time together with family.
The dinner table is a great place to start, but there are plenty of other opportunities as well away from the table. Family board game nights are a great chance to bond together as a family without screen time.
Increased Academic Performance
After a long day of school, children will most likely be itching to unwind in front of the TV.
While this doesn’t have to be completely avoided, limiting screen time is important for academic aged children. Encouraging children to focus on homework before screen time may assist with increased academic performance.
In addition, limiting screen time will encourage your child to openly talk about their day and share their feelings. Being transparent about feelings will promote a safe and loving environment for your children to feel valued.
The more valued a child feels, the more likely they are to excel in school and believe in themselves.
Wrap up of 10 reasons to limit screen time:
- Avoid Hiding from Problems
- Decrease Depression
- Improved Sleep
- Less Headaches
- Increased Focus
- Higher Level of Physical Activity
- Better Overall Health
- Promote Social Interaction
- Increased Bonding Time Together with Family
- Increased Academic Performance
Screen time can quickly add up. If you give your child a device while out running errands, later on the commute home, and then again after dinner those minutes will quickly add up to multiple hours.
According to Mayo Clinic, establishing a phone-free room in your house will encourage children to accept the guidelines parents set to limit screen time.
Set a good example for your children. Turn the TV off. Put your phone down when you get home. Avoid losing hours behind screen time and encourage open communication.
For little ones, frequent your library programs for activities with babies, toddlers and children of all ages. Encourage sports and outdoor activities. Spend time reading together. Unplug from screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.
Check out this article for various indoor activities to do with your children that do not involve screen time!