How to Reduce Screen Time in Children

child with smartphone

Synopsis

We as parents always want to do our best for our children. However, sometimes unknowingly we develop certain habits in children, which are harmful to them in the long run. Screening for a long time is one of those bad habits in children.

Nowadays long screen time has become a prevalent issue among everyone. We all get stuck in our gadgets and use them for a long time.

Parents prevent their kids from spending more time on screen, but the parents themselves are used to it.

This article provides ways to learn how to reduce screen time in children.

I am sharing an incident that happened to me a few days back. I had to go to the doctor for my regular eye exams. His clinic was not big. The waiting area was a small place that has been always full of patients. Therefore, the receptionist took special care of maintaining peace in the clinic so that the doctor was not disturbed by the noise. There was also a ‘Silence, Please’ board hanging prominently.

While I was waiting there, a young woman entered the clinic with her child. The age of the child should not be more than three years.

Many patients were already waiting for the doctor, so it was obvious that the woman’s number would come late. I thought that till then her child would not be able to keep quiet. And the woman may have to face embarrassment.

But to my surprise, nothing of the sort happened. The woman took out two mobile phones from her bag. She set a video game on the mobile phone and handed it to the child. For the next hour, the child kept looking at the phone comfortably without saying anything to anyone.

During the waiting time, neither did the child ask for water nor did he insist on going anywhere. His mother was also busy with his phone all the time.

Both mother and child were happy and comfortable.

I started wondering what would have happened if I had come to this place with my kid a few years back.

I would have a bag containing water bottles, food items, some of my child’s favorite toys, and children’s story books. For such a long wait, I had to work hard to keep the baby calm.

I wondered how useful technology has become these days. And it has made everyone’s life so comfortable. Parents may not be able to devote much time to children, but handing over television sets and phones to them makes children happy.

When my number came, I went to the doctor and curiously asked the doctor how much screen time affects children’s development. The doctor told me a few things about it and recommended me to the WHO website to gather information.

According to the WHO and the American Academy of Paediatrics, it is harmful to watch the screen by children under the age of one year.

Children over one year can see only for an hour. But if he does not watch at all, then it will be better for them.

According to the WHO and the American Academy of Paediatrics, children must spend maximum time in different types of activities. The more they remain active, the more it is beneficial to their health.

There are the following harmful effects of the screen on children

  1. More screen time affects children’s ability to think.
  2. A sedentary lifestyle increases obesity.
  3. Their sleep also affects their health. And when they are sleep deprived, gradually, their symptoms like depression begin to appear.
  4. Scientists believe that by staying on the screen, the electromagnetic rays of the screen activate a chemical called dopamine in the brain, due to which spending time on social media and on-screen becomes a habit.
  5. Online social media platforms do not help to learn to interact with people in real life.

Therefore, parents need to work hard to let their children stay away from the screen. This is not an easy job, but it is not impossible. Parents can act smart by changing their work schedule a little to give their children better health.

Following are the solutions to prevent children from staying on screen.

1 Practice what you preach:

Before teaching any good habit to others, one must first change one’s habits. Because most people follow what others practice and not the oral teachings given by them.

So, if parents want to control kids’ screen time, they must first check their screen time.

It is seen that people often use their phones while walking in the morning. They also check online social media updates from time to time.

To overcome this habit, they should try to keep the phone away from themselves. If the phone is not visible for some time, then people start doing some other work. And when they are busy with some other work, they will not see the phone.

But if the phone is right in front, then self-control is difficult. If you have to keep the phone with you, then use the phone only when necessary. Talking on the phone for a long time is not good for your health.

2 To reduce screen time in children, motivate children to play outside:

Parents can play outside with children. Parents should encourage them to try to play, make new friends and spend more time with nature. For this, if the parents go for outdoor activities with the children, then soon this habit will be developed in the children.

3 Overuse of television:

Unnecessary use of TV at home will make children used to the screen.

Parents can involve children in other activities like indoor games, dance, music, painting etc.

Parents should motivate their children to learn creative work. Practising creative activities will increase children’s self-worth.

Screen time will automatically decrease if they are interested in other things.

Bottom line-

We as parents always want to do our best for our children. However, sometimes unknowingly we develop certain habits in children, which are harmful to them in the long run. Screening for a long time is one of those bad habits in children. Parents themselves need to spend more time in other activities. Children follow their parents. They will also be motivated to spend their time in other activities like playing, reading books, listening to music, gardening, painting etc. by looking at their parents involved in other activities. 

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