Over the past 10 years, screen use among children has skyrocketed—not just outside of school but also as a (sometimes needed) educational material. Many kids clock six or seven hours of screen use each day between homework, social media, video games, and YouTube videos.
Despite the fact that this technology broadens the educational experience and allows kids to learn in new ways, it also has some very major drawbacks: Studies have found links between screen use and problems such as anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. The greatest method to keep your kids safe is to strike a balance between screen time and real-life human interaction.
Also, Read: Are Learning Apps a Bane or Boon?
Pros of Screen Time:
1. Learning Tools:
Children can use smartphones as learning aids to explore educational content and gain a deeper understanding of how technology works. Children who spend time on screens, especially handheld ones like phones, tablets, or computers, may be better equipped to operate the same equipment when it is introduced in the classroom.
And some applications can even encourage healthy habits like consistent exercise and good food choices.
2. Communication & Social Interaction
Children can interact, bond, and communicate with friends and family through screen time without having to leave their homes or daycare facilities. This enables them to keep in touch with grandparents or other friends and family members who they may not be able to visit frequently.
Screen time has also been a lifesaver for many families who have not been able to travel recently due to the pandemic.
3. A Break for Parents
Screens can offer a break for parents, too. Parents could use short screen time sessions to make dinner, do some work, or simply enjoy some alone time. Sometimes it’s a much-needed pause button for daily life to allow both parent and child to slow down and recharge. In these situations, opt for a video calls with grandma or an educational app instead of allowing kids to zone out on YouTube.
Cons of Screen Time:
1. Behavioural Issues
Behaviour issues can be a problem since kids who have too much screen time are more likely to struggle with social or attention issues. Excessive screen usage has been linked in numerous studies to academic problems, rage, violence, frustration, despair, and other emotional issues. Over-stimulation causes kids to have poor focus and depletes their mental energy, which often leads to explosive behavior.
Children who spend too much time sitting still in front of screens run the danger of becoming obese owing to inactivity, which raises their risk of developing diabetes. According to one study, children are more prone to become obese due to increased consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods while watching or playing on their devices, in addition to their inactivity. Children are also influenced by food and beverage marketing ads during shows and videos.
3. Screens Reduce Empathy
Young children can only learn to perceive and interpret non-verbal signs through face-to-face encounters. According to research, young children who spend too much time watching screens find it harder to master social skills like face reading and other crucial elements of empathy. children who are exposed to screens have a harder time understanding and controlling their frustration.
Additionally, it interferes with activities that strengthen children's brains, such as play and connecting with other kids.
The last thing parents should do is try to completely discourage their children from using screens in a world where they have integrated into daily life. The best way to control your child's screen time is to give the impression that you are not doing it at all. Children absolutely love the idea of being independent and having the freedom to do exactly what they want, when they want, without having to worry about their irritating, controlling parents hovering over them and dictating what they should be doing. Given this, your parenting approach in terms of managing your child's screen time should be one in which you establish the screen time law and give your child some freedom in choosing how to obey it.