Written by Liza John
Recently, I took my nephew outdoors to teach him how to fly a kite. Suddenly, a chirping bird flew in and sat next to the patio. He was puzzled and asked me what that sound was. This shows how extremely rare it has become for children to step outdoors and experience and discover the world surrounding them. This can happen only when they unplug.
Were you aware of the negative impact on your child’s overall health due to too much phone use? Do you feel that it is high time to reduce and control the number of hours spent on the phone? Studies show that a teenager roughly spends around 10 hours on the phone on a daily basis. Younger kids may spend up to 6-7 hours on electronic devices. It is therefore important to regulate the amount of screen time and introduce your child to other activities and create a habit where they find time for everything.
Right from being a toddler, kids are wide-eyed and curious about everything. During this intense observing phase, when they pick up a language, absorb and reflect on their surroundings, learn new things, their shape their thoughts take should not be limited to a screen. How do we limit the exposure to screen time?
Effects Of Extended Screen-Time?
Kitty parties have turned from sharing samosas and chai on a blanket to live online get-togethers on the house party app. The current pandemic does not do much to reverse the effects and conditions of excessive screen time. In fact, the impact of covid-19 has resulted in increase of screen time and everyone from students to children to adults to the older population of the world are invested online. The jump in screen time has increased tenfold and the situation does not seem to change anytime soon.
Poor sleep, weight gain, vision loss, muscle pain in neck and back and possible early death are some of the major issues one will face. Studies have also proved that going to bed early sometimes and avoiding excessive screen time will help you with insomnia and provide a good night’s sleep which the body requires. Children who spend more than 7 hours daily on electronic devices, experience difficulty when it comes to critical thinking.
A sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity can lead to obesity, pcos and various health issues. Being unable to interact with others and a lack of social skills is another of the many factors with children in this generation. Moreover, exposure to content not suitable for their age group via electronic media and the resulting need for instant gratification may lead them to resort to violent methods.
Ways To Limit Exposure to Screen Time
- No mobile phones 2 hours before bed.
- This can lead to longer hours of staying up late, and a lethargic lifestyle.
- No electronics such as mobiles, laptops or television while eating.
- This will help your child be aware of what they are consuming and keep track of their food pattern and preferences.
- Setting a specific time to use electronics will give your child more time to engage with different activities.
- Educate your child on the need to be disciplined in phone use so not too much of time is consumed in phone usage.
- Set a daily reading time, encourage them to explore books which might interest them.
- Keeping track of current affairs and reading the editorial will enhance your child’s general knowledge and vocabulary.
- Spend more time outside.
- Engage in family time and as your child about his/her day.
Implementing The Rules
In order to establish a way of life, parents need to set an example and practice what they preach to encourage their children to do the same.
Being too strict may not result in your child listening to you, as they are being forced into a certain lifestyle. There needs to be a balance and an indulgence in various essential activities and phone usage is just one of them.
Due to the instant gratification smartphones bring, it gradually becomes a necessity and an addiction among teenagers. An unnecessary exposure and indulgence in online games and television has become a huge indulgence with younger children. Right from a very young age, babies are exposed to technology so that they may finish their food while being distracted. This is harmful in so many ways. Keeping a check on the number of hours spent on technology and creating a lifestyle where there is not a dependence on it has become crucial to lead a healthy and fruitful lifestyle for this generation.