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What does excessive screen time do to children: Is it okay for children to have long screen time?

Dec 29,2023 | Ducks N Crafts Pte Ltd.

               Let’s be honest, we can’t help but raise our little ones close to gadgets and screen time. One minute, they're building kingdoms with building blocks, the next, they're lost in a YouTube black hole of slime videos.

How much screen time do kids have nowadays?

A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that kids under 2 spend an average of 7 hours a week staring at screens, which is more time than they spend playing outside. And according to Common Sense Media, 8-12-year-olds clock 4.5 hours a day on electronics. Although it is good to learn about technology, it is best to keep it in moderation especially when it comes to our little ones.

 

What are the effects of excessive screen time

Research suggests excessive screen time can mess with our kiddos' development. It can:

  1. Shorten their attention span

Constant screen switching fries their ability to focus, making even a five-minute story time feel like an eternity. This leads to an inability to focus as they age, making learning harder for our kids to absorb knowledge.

  1. Delay social skills

Face-to-face interaction encourages social skills. Screens can steal those precious moments, making real-life friendships a bit fuzzy.

  1. Disrupt sleep

Late-night social media like YouTube lessens your child’s sleep time, which can disrupt not only their sleep schedule but also their growth and development.

  1. Promote unhealthy habits

Excessive screen time can expose your kids to harmful and inappropriate content which can be a bad influence on their minds and promotes a sedentary lifestyle.

  1. Impact on cognitive development

Multiple studies have shown the negative effects of too much screen time on several cognitive areas such as executive functioning, sensorimotor development, and academic outcomes. Additionally, being exposed to too much media negatively impacts executive functioning in children, where they can find it hard to work on their memory and the capacity to switch between tasks.

 

Screens, although it does keep them busy, aren't exactly sunshine and rainbows for our little ones. But before limiting them entirely, let's remember – screens aren't all bad. Educational apps, video calls with grandparents, and even a dose of silly cartoons can have their benefits, either on their development or entertainment. The key is finding that sweet spot, that golden hour of screen time that doesn't turn our kids into mini cyborgs.

 

How to lessen the harmful effects of screen time

Here are some tips we recommend to keep them entertained while lessening the risks of screen time:

  1. Setting screen time limits

Set a limit for how long your little ones can be at their gadgets. This can be through times, apps, and more to make sure time will not swallow their day.

 

  1. Choosing content wisely

Opt for educational apps, games, shows, and videos that can develop their creativity and can be beneficial for kids at their age.

 

  1. Providing educational toys

You can also opt for educational toys to keep them at bay while actively promoting their development. Arts and crafts, DIY kits, STEM toys, and more are some examples you can start with. You can also check our blog about the top educational toys for different age groups.

 

  1. Lead by example

We all know that children learn by mimicking, so you can create a good example by putting your phone down during dinner, making fun and memorable moments with the family, and showing your kids the joys of adventures sans phones.

 

Remember, it’s all about keeping it in moderation and finding the joys of offline adventures. A great balance and combination of screen time and offline learning can actively encourage your little ones’ growth and development.

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