SCREEN TIME.PERSPECTIVES: RISKS & YES, BENEFITS

RISKS

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Whether you keep the TV on all the time or the whole family sits around staring at their smartphones, too much screen time could be harmful. Here's what some of the research says:

  • Obesity: Too much time engaging in sedentary activity, such as watching TV and playing video games, can be a risk factor for becoming overweight.


  • Sleep problems: Although many parents use TV to wind down before bed, screen time before bed can backfire. The light emitted from screens interferes with the sleep cycle in the brain and can lead to insomnia.

RISKS

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  • Behavior problems: Elementary school-age children who watch TV or use a computer more than two hours per day are more likely to have emotional, social, and attention problems.


  • Educational problems: Elementary school-age children who have televisions in their bedrooms do worse on academic testing.









Works Cited


Paediatric Society, Canadian Pediatric Society. “Protecting and Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Children and Youth.” Canadian Paediatric Society, 2017


Morin, Amy. “How Too Much Screen Time Can Hurt Kids and Their Families.” Verywell Family, Verywell Family, 19 July 2019

BENEFITS

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ON THE OTHER HAND: 


Potential psychosocial benefits


"Quality content can enhance social and language skills for all children aged 2 years and older, particularly for children living in poverty or who are otherwise disadvantaged. Educational TV reaches children in lower-income homes almost as much as higher-income homes, and among children whose families own a laptop or mobile device, barriers to accessing and using educational content have almost disappeared. Well-designed, age-appropriate educational programs and screen activities can be powerfully pro-social, helping children to learn antiviolence attitudes, empathy, tolerance and respect. Appropriately used, screen time can calm a child who is overexcited or distressed (e.g., during a medical procedure). But screen learning can affect behaviour both positively and negatively, so ensuring quality content is crucial."

ESTABLISH FAMILY RULES

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It's important for you to set healthy limits on your electronics use for your own sake, as well as your child's sake.
Here are a few household rules you might want to establish to curb screen time: 

  • No digital devices during family meals.
  • No screen time in the car.
  • No screens allowed in bedrooms.
  • No electronics use during family fun nights.

In addition, consider an occasional digital detox for the whole family. Create a screen-free night once a week or commit to unplugging one weekend a month. It could be good for everyone's physical and emotional health, as well as your family's relationships.

ABOUT ELECTRONICS

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents place a reasonable limit on entertainment media. Despite those recommendations, children between the ages of 8 and 18 average 7 ½ hours of entertainment media per day, according to a 2010 study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

But it's not just kids who are getting too much screen time. Many parents struggle to impose healthy limits on themselves too. The average adult spends over 11 hours per day behind a screen, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

So it's important to understand how too much screen time could be harming everyone in the whole family.