Healthy Electronic Devices & Screen Time Guidelines For Children
What exactly is classified as time in front of screen and what are the recommended screen time guidelines for kids? Most parents these days are aware that too much time spent on electronic devices is not a good thing for their kids. It has been shown that children who spend too much time on screens are at increased risk of being overweight, have reduced physical fitness and have fewer social skills.
On the other hand, it has been shown that a healthy family lifestyle that provides some limits and boundaries for time spent on screens is more likely to promote children who have improved relationships, improved health and improved performance at school.
Screen time is classified as any time a person or child is looking at an electronic device or screen. In addition to television and computers, this also includes electronic devices such as IPods, IPads, tablets. Even using phones to send text massages or the use of other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are included.
How much screen time is ok? It is true that in today’s world, children do need to know their way around a computer in order to make their way in the world, however too much at a young age has been proven to be harmful. Experts recommend that children under two have almost no time in front of a screen, except perhaps a little incidental television time. Children aged 2-5 years should be exposed to a total of no more than 1 hour per day. Children aged 5-18 years should spend no more than a total of 2 hours per day in front of a screen. Keep in mind this also includes time spent using screens at school.
Tips to manage screen time for your children:
- Set screen time guidelines similar to those suggested above, and set an example by limiting your own time in front of electronic devices.
- Avoid Boredom: Have a range of different activities readily available to children.
- Sporting and craft activities will help to stop children from gravitating towards the TV or other electronic devices.
- Keep TVs and computers within family spaces, not in children’s rooms.
- Turn the TV off during homework time. Even if the TV is just on in the background it will interfere with concentration levels and result in reduced performance.
- Don’t allow screens just before bed. Turn all electronic devices off at dinner time and leave them off. Screens just before bed time have been linked to poor sleep patterns in children.
While screens, especially computers might be considered a vital part of life these days, it is important to remember that a wide range of activities are required for children’s development. Physical play, creative play, imaginative play, hands-on fun and anything that involves relationships and interaction with other people are also vital to a child’s development.
By following these easy screen time guidelines and encouraging a healthy lifestyle overall, you can encourage your children to grow and prosper into well balanced adults.