We spend more time with our eyes fixed on screens than ever before, thanks to streaming entertainment and remote learning.
It’s one thing to be proud of the fact that technology makes it possible to find any educational resource or form of entertainment online. However, it is also concerning that more people are spending their time in chairs and with screens in their faces.
How much is too much? What limits are appropriate for your child? How can you ensure that both your child and you are not spending too much time on the phone, tablet, or computer? Let’s take an in-depth look.
How much screentime is too much?
A 2017 study showed that children’s mental health fluctuated according to how much screen time they were exposed over the day. Screen time can be beneficial to children in certain quantities, but once a time limit is reached, the benefits diminish and screen time starts to have a negative impact on kids’ mental health.
The study showed that on weekdays, children were able to play video games for up to 40 minutes per hour; they could also benefit from using their smartphones up to 1 hour and 57 minutes per night; watching TV or videos upto 3 hours and 41 mins per day; and general computer use upto 4 hours and 17 minute per day. The weekend time limits were higher, which suggests that children don’t need to spend more time in front of a computer on Saturdays or Sundays.
However, even with these time limits, researchers noted that the effects on mental health were not that significant. Additional daily factors that had a greater impact on mental health than screen time were getting enough sleep, eating breakfast frequently, and regular exercise.
In other words, even though you don’t want your child to spend too much time on the screen, and you also want to make sure they get enough exercise, there are more important things you can do for them.
How much screen-time is too much?
Researchers have found that adults are more likely to spend hours on their screens than they are for children. You spend an average of 8 hours per day using your computer at work. This doesn’t include scrolling Instagram during lunch breaks, while dinner is cooking, or even watching your favorite reality TV shows in bed.
Experts recommend that adults maintain a healthy balance. You should not let the screen take over your life. Instead, focus on the things that are beneficial to you and not harm you. You may have a problem if you can’t look away from Facebook while you eat or at your child’s soccer game.
How do you ensure everyone has enough screen time?
It is easy to let screen time take over your life. It’s easy to let screen time take over your life.
It’s worth it to get your family out of the screen and into the “real” world. Instead of having a family movie night with the whole family, create a regular family gaming night. Instead of asking your children to compete in a video game dance-off with each other, encourage them to race along the nearest trail bike or hiking. Instead of spending time watching a video about a famous piece of art, visit your local museum.
There’s nothing wrong with the screen time mentioned above, but you don’t want your entire life to be influenced by technology. It’s about finding the right balance.
The only thing you don’t want is
What is the one thing you don’t want to do? You can ban screen time or make it a punishment. This is just teaching your kids that screen time can be a reward, and something they should strive to get more of.
Instead, encourage them to get away from the screen and make it fun enough and rewarding enough for them to start enjoying it.
The same applies to you. Instead of looking at switching to a book at night instead of your favorite TV, look at it as a punishment.