Recommended Screen Time For Kids: How Much is Too Much?


7 minute read

What is screen time?

Recommended Screen Time for Kids

Screen time is the amount of time we spend using devices with screens. For example, when we watch TV shows, play video games, and use our phones, our devices monitor our time with them. 

The problem with screen time is that it promotes sedentary activity. As a result, people are physically inactive despite being busy with their devices. 

In this internet age, many of us own at least one gadget with a screen. Whether for entertainment purposes, studies, work, or business, having at least one device is necessary. However, the issue begins when users spend time with gadgets beyond the advisable period. Unfortunately, adults are not the only ones victimized by the screen culture.

Many adults have noticed children's addiction to gadgets. That's why studies advocate limiting child's gadget use to the recommended screen time for kids!

Kids nowadays, including toddlers, have access to screened devices. Sadly, no matter the reason behind it, screen time can adversely affect their health and behavior. 

This blog will reveal the recommended screen time for children and discuss the consequences of going beyond those periods.

 

How Screen Time Affects Your Kid

 

Don't be confused. Proper exposure to screens can be healthy. However, too much of a good thing can also bear negative results, as observed with screen time.

Overuse of gadgets often occurs when parents give kids leisure to use devices unsupervised. This has been a hot topic for a long time, and the following reveals the adverse effects of too much screen time on kids.

 

1. Sleep deprivation

Screens emit blue light. A type of light in the visible light spectrum that is said to have the following benefits:

  • Boost people's alertness

  • Aids in memory and cognitive functions

  • Elevates the mood 

The above doesn't sound so bad. Having blue light exposure during the day keeps people awake and alert.

That said, blue light emitted from screens is unadvisable at night. This is because the light inhibits a hormone called melatonin, which promotes healthy sleep and a regular sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light, in turn, screens during the evening may lead to insomnia and difficulty in sleeping.

 

2. Learning problems

The effect of too much screen time for kids results in a cascade of negative consequences.

When the sleeping pattern of children is affected, their learning ability also becomes at stake. Sleep deprivation limits the brain from fully absorbing information at school. Moreover, lack of sleep can lead to irritability, negative behavior, and tantrums.

Screen exposure was a dilemma faced during the coronavirus pandemic. Learning from videos was the only access to education at the time, but studies show that learning from screens is not as effective as conventional practices

Education is better imparted through physical interaction and a dual-channel of communication, contrary to distance learning. Although education videos can be helpful, the rewatching and playbacks only expose kids to further screen time. In addition, children below two years old do not possess the ability to understand screens yet. So toddlers under that age might seem captivated, but they're not learning one bit from screens, so it's best to avoid them.

It is best to interact with kids to maximize their learning and development. For example, physical interaction results in rapid language development in toddlers aged 1-3. The reason behind this is that adults can demonstrate the meanings and applications of words, unlike videos. Furthermore, some studies provide evidence that children who watch too much television perform less on reading exams. 

That said, it is better to demonstrate with children rather than rely on screens for explanations. As parents, we must help our kids recover from the screen culture by promoting an atmosphere of communication and interaction.

 

3. Risk of screen addiction

Scrolling through social media can sometimes make us forget about time.

This is one problem with these devices; they are addictive. Once it captures your attention, it's hard to move away from it. The problem often leads to countless wasted time. However, we cannot deny that these gadgets are convenient. A day without them is difficult, especially since there are almost infinite ways to use these in our lives.

From simple phone calls to bills payment, it's not surprising that gadgets are the go-to places for adults. But, more alarmingly, is that parents often use gadgets to calm children from their wild tantrums. This might be a quick fix to their lash outs, but it's not at all helpful, harmful even. 

In the long run, the charade of using screens to keep children from naughtiness can be addictive to them. Once they get a hold of that device and start watching their favorite show, taking the gadget away from them will be a tug-of-war.

 

Recommended Screen Time for Kids

Like any other activity, there are time limits to how often or how long we should be doing them. In this portion, we will break down the appropriate screen time for children according to their age.

 

Under Two Years Old

Infants are extremely sensitive since they haven't fully developed their bodies yet, and exposure to screens might be dangerous. So a Pediatrician, Dr. Ameera Nauman from OSF Health Care, has this rule where patients under two years of age are not allowed exposure to screens

According to her, the brain's neural networks during this stage are still developing until they turn five years old. The doctor then emphasized that learning during this period should be done through personal contact. She also stated that these infants' minds are nourished by playing, singing, and other activities and that no TV should be around them to avoid distractions. Also, TV can interfere with the ability of these children to play and interact.

With that, infants (under 2) should have absolute zero screen time, even in the background.

 

Two to Five Years Old

At age two, babies should have learned a few words from interacting and playing with adults. Although hiring a tutor is possible, Dr. Nauman advised that parents re-teach and supplement the lessons taught by the language tutors. 

During this stage, you must limit their exposure to screen time to less than an hour daily.

 

Five to Seventeen Years Old

Screen time at this age should be limited to 2 hours a day, excluding homework, as advised by Dr. Nauman. Children at this stage should be more physically active than stuck with watching videos and playing with their devices.

Moreover, these children should not use their devices at night especially before going to sleep since it would cause them to have trouble sleeping.

 

Long-Term Effects of Screen Time

 

Many studies talk about the effects of short and long-term effects of screen time. But, like any other form of leisure, too much gadget usage may lead to more severe problems than the ones above.

Many studies talk about the effects of short and long-term effects of screen time. But, like any other form of leisure, too much gadget usage may lead to more severe problems than the ones above.

Too much screen time is also linked to obesity since children remain inactive during their screen sessions. In addition, obesity may lead to bullying. Although highly discouraged in schools, obese children are victims of bullying, resulting in low self-esteem and isolation. 

Another issue is that too much screen exposure can cause insomnia which remains until they grow older. 

Lastly, which is the most common among these children are academic problems. Children who spend too much time on their screens lead to poorer academic performance.

 

Takeaways

Young learners should spend their childhood without the use of screens. One way to keep them entertained while learning is to give them toys that will benefit them. Especially toys that support the brain development and adventurous spirits of kids.

The STEMscope Portable Microscope is a gadget invented for kids to have fun and learn! So beat the screen culture and expose kids to outlets that cultivate their learning and curiosity!

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