Children between the ages of eight and eighteen spend an average of more than seven hours a day staring at screens. This is a concern for parents as excess screen time is being linked by researchers to a number of physical and mental illnesses.
Most of us are tied to our phones most of the time. In fact, we often feel a lack if we don’t have our phone in our hands.
Children are modelling (imitating) this behavior of ours, which can prove to be a hindrance to their mental and intellectual development. Very wrong, this mentality has flourished that when the child is playing, you leave the cartoon or rhymes on the TV in the background and the child learns from it. This notion is absolutely wrong, but experts say that even in the background, especially with babies or toddlers, don’t turn on the TV as it can interfere with their ability to play and interact. For older children, this can be a distraction. If we want to teach our kids to focus on one thing then it is good to turn off that TV running in the background.
No more than an hour of screen time per day is a good guideline until the age of 3-5. Also, pediatricians warn that not all smart phone apps are developed with the input of kid’s development experts and that they can do more harm than good if you leave your child to rely on them. More than this, it benefits more if the child plays with a care giver and other children.
If you are concerned about inappropriate excessive use of social media and phone, try to create a schedule that is suitable for your family. This may include weekly screen-time limits, restrictions on the types of screens children can use, and guidelines on the types of activities they can do or programs they can watch. Be sure to get your kids’ input so that the plan teaches media literacy and self-regulation, and use this as an opportunity to find out what they like to watch, and what kind of content they’re persuaded by.
Experts allow some screen time for younger children as well as emphasize parental involvement for all children.
- Avoid using any type of screen media for children under 18 months of age. (Zero screen time recommended for children under 2 years old)
- Limit screen use of high-quality programs for children ages 2 to 5 to an hour per day.
- Create a family media plan with consistent rules and apply them to older children.
Sitting down together and having complete knowledge of what the child is seeing, to the parents is recommended for children of all ages.
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(Hindi Version of this article has been published in Indian esteemed daily. Read at – Pearl in Media )
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