Spending time on social media browsing through content has turned one’s hobby into an addiction for children. Ready access to fast WiFi connectivity and digital devices like tabs, laptops, and mobile phones, has affected the student’s attention span and reduced their physical activity, thus impacting overall development. Let us through this Blog understand the perils of excessive screen time on children so that parents & educators become vigilant about restricting its usage.
Children who are hooked to their PCs for more than 2 hours a day, are unable to process their emotions and even become irritable easily. An aggressive child may lose the ability to make proper judgments and fail to be empathetic towards each other.
According to research by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, higher usage of social media makes children three times more susceptible to social isolation. The sense of loneliness increases and there are higher chances of depression and anxiety. By the age of 4, a child should have many friends and spend time bonding with them. However, the sad truth is most preschoolers are homebound and geared to video games and unwanted play apps.
Strain on Eyes and Restricted Physical Development
It is no surprise that staring at the screen affects the eyes due to excessive strain and may cause problems with vision. To develop muscles, children need physical activity for at least an hour each day, if otherwise, one may suffer from obesity and develop all kinds of aches and pains at an early age. Kids who spend time outdoors are more agile, smarter & happier. The added advantage of exposure to Vitamin D improves bone health and uplifts the mood.
Disturbed Sleep Patterns
The increased use of digital devices in schools (especially across institutes in Dubai in the Middle East) and at homes causes increased alertness and doesn’t allow the body to be in a state of rest. This hyperactivity, especially streaming videos late through the night causes restlessness and leads to difficulty in sleeping. They say the blue light that is emitted from devices has a great negative impact by reducing melatonin (which is a hormone needed to have a good night’s sleep), thus causing insomnia.
Children need sufficient time to discover the world around them and also find a safe zone for themselves to discover their self-worth. Developing one’s own confidence, creativity, & passions, is beneficial in the long run and it is best if done early-on in life. Regretting spending golden years of one’s life just scrolling through your devices is such a regrettable decision, which will do no good in the future.
Here are some tips to practice which will resolve these issues;
- Set a fixed time slot for children to spend time on their tabs
- Gift them educational toys that do not involve the usage of a screen. One such example is the Matatalab set that focuses on hands-on coding to encourage STEAM learning and important concepts like coding, without the usage of a screen. The MatataBot model is designed simplistically and combines blocks & a control board, to entertain children in a play-way manner. This kit is available across GCC and other regions of the UAE.
- Practice what you preach! As an adult set an example by putting your phones away in the cupboard when not in use, and set rules that state, no devices on the dinner table, and also, no screen time post 8 pm.
- Use parental control settings and restrict the content that is not meant for kids. This will give you the assurance of cyber safety.
- Enroll your little ones in hobby classes like; football, chess, dancing, skating, etc. to utilize their time positively, without the need for a screen.