Do you remember the days when people weren't glued to their screens 24/7? Those days when children played outdoors on their bikes, and when they played board games instead of video games. If you're of a certain age you will, but things are clearly different now.
Screens are part of the modern age, and we aren't just talking about the TV. Laptop, tablet and phone screens are now a constant in all of our lives, and while useful for keeping our kids entertained, we really do need to place limits on them.
Of course, you might resist the idea of limiting screen time. For those moments when you want a bit of peace and quiet, you might be glad your child has something to do with their time. And you might be afraid of your kids throwing a tantrum too, with shouts of "I'm bored." But there are other things your kids can do indoors without a screen in their hands, so you shouldn't be afraid of taking their screens away from them.
Here are the reasons we should limit our kid's screen time:
1. Screens are addictive
Studies have compared screen addiction with drug addiction as they both trigger the release of dopamine, the feel-good chemical that comes from instant gratification. The similarities don't end there, as children can behave in a way that drug addicts do after taking a hit, with hyper-aroused states of excitement. When without a screen in their hands, they can also become agitated, just like a drug user! It's scary stuff, but if you can limit your children's screen time, you will limit their dependency on the screens they interact with every day.
2. Screens cause eye strain
According to a blog post on eyeglasses.com, children who spend a lot of time on their screens are more likely to need vision correction than their peers. This is because of digital eye strain, which has both short and long-term consequences for children. Visit the website to learn more. To protect your children's eyesight, find other things for them to do to give their eyes a rest. Dig those board games out of the cupboard, play games with them in the garden, and go for walks in areas of scenic beauty to benefit all of their senses.
3. Screens play havoc with children's sleep patterns
According to the Sleep Foundation, screens can interfere with the body clock. This is because screens emit an artificial blue light that suppresses our sleep hormones. So, if your child has ever struggled to get to sleep at night time, it might be because of the screens they have been using. Not only will this cause you problems at night but you might also have problems trying to wake them in the morning if they nodded off in the early hours. To get around this problem, encourage your children to do other things before bedtime. Instead of looking at a screen, they could read a book instead. Or listen to music, take the dog for an evening stroll with you, or play a game. They should get a better night's sleep this way, and if they do, so will you!
So, create screen time rules with your kids. The earlier you do it the easier it will be for you. And be a good role model too. If you can put your phone down for a while, you might encourage them to put their phones down as well!