Gone are the days when playing with neighbours in gardens and parks was the sole way kids used to pass their time after school hours. These days the concept of outdoor sports or games has diminished drastically and has been taken over by screen time. Yes, kids as little as 1 year olds can operate phones and tablets with a surprising ease. They tend to spend several hours a day on some form of a screen or the other and these include televisions, computers, tablets and phones etc. This is an even more commons scenario in bigger cities of India including Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune etc.
It is alarming how the kids screen time is increasing these days and has left little time for them to enjoy any other kinds of toys and games. This can result in several negative side effects and health problems and some of them have been mentioned as follows for your reference.
One of the direct side effects of too much screen time among kids is obesity. The use of any kind of screen requires kids to sit and sit for a long time. This subtracts from the time they spend doing physical activities or engaging in sports. Moreover, long sitting periods are often accompanied with consumption of junk foods which results in weight gain. Obesity can further lead to many health issues like joint pains, diabetes, low self esteem and depression.
One of the most serious negative effects of kids screen is vision problems. It is common to see kids with spectacles these days and the main reason behind this is spending too much time on phones and tabs. The 20/20/20 rule has long gone now and kids these days can’t take their eyes off screens even more 20 seconds. Besides high numbers, kids experience eye pains, strain and several other eye related issues.
The excessive use of screens has also led to sleep deprivation among kids which again has further negative health effects. Kids need atleast 10-12 hours of sleep everyday for the growth of their bodies and brain. But since they sleep with their electronic devices, they tend to sleep less and spend more time on them. The light that emits out of the screens can hinder with the sleep among kids.
Pains and aches
The body uses several parts when it is using a phone or tablet or any other form of screen. It uses thumb and fingers; it uses the neck, and also the wrists. Due to excessive usage of these parts along with others like the back and waist, kids may experience aches and pains in them. Kids use these devices in various angles such as sitting, lying down and even while standing and this can lead to strain in several body parts including headaches. This is another negative effect or negative health impact of too much screen time.
Most games, TV shows and other forms of entertainment on phones and computers these days involves violence and negative content. This content can infuse a certain aggression among kids. This is one reason why most kids these days are impatient, angry and aggressive.
How to overcome too much screen time among kids
It is definitely not possible to completely take kids of screens and electronic devices, given the technologically driven environment these days. But it is surely possible to cut short the time through constant efforts. The following are some ways to do so:
Introducing better alternatives to screens
One of the best ways to cut short the time that kids spend on screens is to introduce better alternatives for the same. For example, help them take up new hobbies and activities which may suit their interest. This can include reading, sports, drawing and dancing etc. Reward your child for performing well in these hobbies to encourage them to continue. Another way to do so is by making sure you and your family spends enough time together. Go for picnics, walks, swimming, short trips and educational outings every once in a while.
Monitor and regulate screen time
Most parents tend to let kids allow using screens for their own convenience in many cases. For example if a kid is a fussy eater, parents tend to hand over phones so that the kid eats without much difficulty and so on. But it is very important to monitor and regulate screen time. Set a strict limit and monitor it on a daily basis. Also set conditions under which the kid will be allowed to spend time on any kind of a screen. Make these changes gradually and not immediately as kids take time to adjust to changes.
Shubhi Gupta is a professional writer, blogger who writes for a variety of online publications. She is also an acclaimed blogger outreach expert and content marketer. She loves writing blogs and promoting websites related to education, fashion, travel, health and technology sectors.