Every concerned parent wants to know, how much screen time is enough for my child.
Now that we are living in a tech-dominated world and 5g in 2020 is about to roll out as well, there’s no way you can imagine a life without a smartphone. During COVID-19 quarantine, all parents have been guilty of going easy on the amount of time their children spend on media players, gaming devices, connected TVs, smartphones, and PCs.
Separating your child from a screen is easier said than done. But don’t worry. Just follow along if you are up for restoring harmony to your household and make sure everyone’s using their screens moderately.
How Much Screen Time Is too Much
It might come as a surprise but experts believe that the time you spend on the screen should not be the main focus if the activities you are performing are valuable. With so many activities taking place online, we should look at the individual activity and its value rather than the whole screen time.
Experts say it’s difficult to prescribe an exact digital dose that is healthy or appropriate for adults as well as children. Each person responds to technology in different ways therefore, it really depends on what you are doing while you are using the screen and what is driving your behavior.
If you are still looking for a figure, average screen time for adults and children should be 2 hours a day. However, we find adults spending up to 11 hours a day (since their jobs require viewing screens).
Negative Effects of Screen Time
Too much of everything is bad and the same goes for using the screen. These are common negative effects of having long sessions of the screen time:
- Eye strain and headache
- Insomnia or disrupted sleep
- Addiction to social media
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
Recommendations for Kids and Adults
Again, there is no consensus on how much screen time is too much. However, there are things both kids and adults can do to watch how they spend their time on gadgets or at the very least, mitigate the negative effects.
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Screen Time for Kids
Here are some screen time recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics by age:
- There should be any screen time for babies up to 18 months other than video calling.
- Supervise the screen usage of your child if they are between 18 to 24 months.
- Kids between 2 and 5 years of age shouldn’t spend more than an hour a day on their gadgets.
- Decide what’s best for children older than 5
Ideally, parents must be involved in the online world of their children. This is how Internet safety for kids can be administered.
There should be a strict rule of hot using screens on the dinner table or family happy hour. Also, don’t forget to be a healthy model for your kids. Children learn by example. If you can’t control yourself, how can you control your child’s screen-time?
Screen Time for Adults
Adults should also focus on reducing the amount of time they spend on their gadgets. Here is how they can manage that:
- Look away at a distant object for 20 seconds while you are working on the PC.
Note: Repeat this after every 20 minutes
- Take a stretch break every hour
- Keep the posture right
- Never eat in front of the screen
- Replace online activities with physical activities
- Keep some time for social interaction
- Turn off all gadgets an hour before going to bed
- Limit the time spent on social media
Consider the Value of the Online Activity
Don’t just simply limit the screen time for yourself and your children. Take a moment to think about the benefits of individual activities. Ask yourself, what value does this activity add to my like? For instance, scrolling through Facebook is equivalent to flipping pages of a trashy magazine. So why waste 20 minutes doing nothing?
It’s recommended to look at how online activity is fulfilling your need and you should be able to cut back on the extra hours.
Wait, what’s the value of watching a YouTuber bounce on a trampoline or a child watching a video about Minecraft? Well, these videos are for entertainment purposes. If you or your child is engaging with it properly, and both of you can talk about it, this could be a useful tool to start a conversation.
A Few More Recommendations
Be Prepared For Mistakes
Your child is going to make mistakes sometimes. This could be accidentally visiting an inappropriate site or going over the data limit on their phone. When this happens, consider this an opportunity to teach them and do better next time.
It’s Ok If They Are Online
Social media is a part of everyone’s lives these days. It’s ok if your child is online. They could be communicating with other people.
Watch Out for the Red Flags
Screen time is not as harmful as we once thought it would be. However, that doesn’t mean all screen use is healthy. Parents must make sure the sites their kids use are age-appropriate. Also, don’t just get a tablet for kids, show them how to use them, be involved. Do educate them about cyberbullying.
If you or your child is feeling stressed, this means the screen is impacting your physical health. Apart from physical effects, excessive usage of the screen can take a toll on our mental health as well.
Just make sure you don’t slip into negative habits. The screen shouldn’t interface with your family time, mental/physical health, and sleep. In case it does, then it’s a sign you might be spending too much time on your gadgets.
Long story short, there’s no set number of hours one should be spending on screen. Of course, when you have a seamless connection like Cox Internet Ultimate or any other, it’s easy to get carried away. But that’s controllable if you stick by some rules.