The negative health effects of spending too much time on computers, smartphones, tablets and television are well documented. Adults are advised to minimize their screen time to improve their overall health, this limit should extend to children as well.
The best way to reduce your child's screen time is to engage in alternative activities, such as reading, painting, cycling, hanging out with friends, walking in the park, swimming and exercising at the gym among other types of activities. This holds true for both children and adults.
Why Excessive Screen Time is Detrimental for Kids
Screen time is the time spent in front of a screen. This can be a TV screen, computer screen, tablet screen or a smartphone screen. Excessive screen time is detrimental because the child remains sedentary for a long time. Screen time is also not engaging.
A recent study at the University of South Australia, showed that children with a lot of screen time have the lowest levels of wellbeing. The study involved 62,000 kids between the ages of 4 and 9 years. In the study, it was discovered that children who played computer games, watched TV or went onto social media after school had lower levels of wellbeing.
According to the study, which mainly focused on child safety, children who hung out with friends, participated in sports and took music lessons were 15% more likely to be optimistic about life.
They were also 14% more likely to be satisfied with their life and 10% were more likely to be able to control their emotions than children who did not participate in sports.
Advice to Parents and Guardians
Social media, the internet, video games and television are important in a child's life. However, face to face interaction with peers is also vital.
Therefore, parents and guardians are advised to limit the screen time of their children. The best way to do this is to sign up for music classes and encourage participation in sporting activities, time with friends or time being creative in ways the child enjoys, i.e. arts and crafts, building blocks, etc.