Technology is here to stay, and it will only advance further as time goes on. So, in a new era where children will grow up with rapidly changing tech, many parents are investigating how device usage can affect their child’s development. Below are some helpful facts about children’s screen time.
Can Lead to Sedentary Lifestyle
Over the past several years, doctors and researchers are noticing a direct link between a surplus of screen time and sedentary, or inactive, behaviors in children. One study shows that children are spending an average of 6 hours and 40 minutes in front of a screen each day. Further, they are consuming media while sitting rather than being on-the-go. However in the same report, it was also noted that when children’s screen time was reduced, their sedentary behaviors decreased as well.
Link to Obesity
A report from 2017 shows obesity in America is at an all-time high—especially in children. In fact, one in six children in the United States are obese. Numerous researchers are claiming one of the biggest reasons for the drastic spike of childhood obesity is due to increased screen time. In fact, in studies where children’s screen time allotment was lessened, the child weight gain would be lessened as well.
Effects of Blue Light Exposure
One of the biggest growing concerns is children and adults alike is the effect of blue light exposure on our brain. Blue light is an artificial light source found in most devices such as tablets, smartphones and computer screens. During the day, the wavelengths in blue light affect your brain by keeping you attentive as well as boosting your mood and reactions. However when applied to nighttime, blue lights can keep your brain awake. There is cause for concern that this is leading to children losing sleep, a necessary function needed as they develop.
Little Effective Ways To Reduce Screen Time
The good news is though screen time can lead to the above symptoms, the effects caused by it can be positively changed overtime when healthy boundaries are applied. If you are looking to cut down on your child’s overall time on their tablet or phone. Here are a few tips:
- Instill a “No devices” policy at the dinner table or at bedtime.
- Set a schedule for your child that includes “device hour” as well as “activity or playtime hour”, “chores hour”, “homework hour” etc.
- Find a family activity you and your child can enjoy without any screens involved, like a board game night or going for a walk in a park.
If you have further questions about your child’s development, or any health-related questions, you can schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric healthcare professionals.