1)Screen time is the total time spent per day watching screens such as mobile phones, TV, computer, tablet, or any hand-held or visual device.
2)Broadly divided into positive or healthy screentime or negative/unhealthy.
3)Ideally Children below the age of 2-3 years should not be exposed to any type of screen.
4) Screen time for children between the age of 2 and 5 years should not be more than 1- 1.5 hours as per some studies
5)For older children and elders it is important to balance screen time with other activities that are required for overall development.
6)There are multiple effects of excessive screen time on children
sedentary lifestyle, obesity, disturbed sleep, headache, eye strain, neck, back pains
hyperactivity, violence, desire for instant gratification, poor concentration, Fear of missing out,Fear of being left out, cyberbullying, media addiction, distorted perception of sex by exposure to pornography, drug use, self-harm, anxiety, and depression
Reduced socialization and social anxiety
Decreased academic performance.
- Healthy co-viewing and co-playing using digital platforms improve child and parent bonding, recreation, and relaxation.
- Smartphone Apps such as Yoga apps and spiritual apps help maintain a silent mind and balance life.
- In 2-3 years, you could introduce digital devices such as computers and television but you should view the screens along with the children and prefer educative interactive programs for a short duration of time.
- Adolescents could be given ordinary mobile phones and preferably not smartphones mainly to maintain communication.
- Fosters a sense of connection and belonging especially for shy children who are hesitant to interact with others in person
- Promotes collaborative learning through sharing of online educational material and creativity through graphics and videos showcasing talents and achievements of young people Serves as a social support platform for children with chronic diseases and their parents
- Exposure to inappropriate content such as pornographic websites and fake news creates anxiety and false learning and desire.
- Exposure to targeted advertising and marketing breach of privacy results when the child posts personal details, revealing pictures, details of bank accounts, and credit cards online
How can I motivate my child to use media in a healthy way? –
A few rules for maintaining “digital hygiene” are:
- Ensure a warm, nurturing, supportive, fun-filled, and secure environment at home.
- Children follow rules if they are guided in a respectful and empathetic manner.
- Do not use a screen for calming or distracting a child.
- Balance screen time with adequate time for sleep, physical activity, study, family, meals, and hobby time.
- Screens should be switched off 1 hour before bedtime, as the blue light emitted from devices disturbs sleep.
- Avoid multitasking.
- Keep children safe by co-viewing and monitoring the online content and interactions.
- Avoid programs with violent content.
- Ensure proper privacy settings on the computer, safe search engines on browsers and apps, and anti-virus software.
- For young children, install protective software to restrict access to inappropriate websites.
- Contact your pediatrician immediately if you find any of developing changes in behavior, habits of children or adolescents