It’s like a scene from a horror movie.
You enter into the dark room that your children are inhabiting. You hear eerie music and see small flickers of light coming from the devices in their hands. You call out to them, but they don’t answer. They don’t even look up at you.
Finally, you manage to somehow grab their attention. When they unwillingly lift their heads, you are suddenly taken back by the blank look in their eyes.
The expression is blank. Your children are zombies, but it is not brains that they crave. Nope, it is something much more accessible. It is technology. As funny as it sounds, it's often times the case than none. Parents most of the times can relate with this or can boast of having such experiences.
I come at you from a place of understanding, not judgement.
With all three of my children, I have had moments where I questioned if the amount of screen time they were getting would produce negative effects.
We try to encourage constant outdoor play and reading, but let’s be honest, we live busy lives and it’s not always feasible to do it all with someone hanging on your leg. I’d be lying if I said my children never became technology-zombies.
When I started to do the research, I was a little shocked at what I found regarding the negative effects that screen time had on children:
- Effect on sleep: Screen viewing, specifically on portable devices, has a negative effect on the amount of sleep children of all ages get, but more so in children under the age of ten.
- Effect on activity level: In some studies, obesity has been linked to excessive TV watching as a child.
- Effects on cognition: Studies suggest that kids who spend more than 2 hours per day looking at a screen score lower on thinking and language tests.
It’s not all negative. One study showed association between watching educational shows and improved social behaviors in preschoolers; including higher quality academic performance with lasting effects through high school.
Basically, like all other aspects of parenting, balance is key. Your family needs to find balance and a schedule that works for you. I wanted to give my kids a childhood like I had – where we were glued to our bikes, not our phones. I decided it was time for a change, and any big change needs a thought-out plan.
If you are debating reducing or detoxing from screen time, this method is a gentle and surefire approach to get you on the right path.
Instead of scolding and chewing them out, a gentler approach might be the best way to ease off on the issue. Children, most of the times shy away and often than not disobey the 'strict' parent. So taking an easier approach might help.
I hope you enjoyed today's post. Feel free to like and leave a comment, parenting is never easy but posts like this always contributes to helping, and that is one of our aims.
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