Too much screen-time is negatively affecting the health of our children. They’re growing up in an environment where they prioritize mobile devices over good old fashion playing in the garden. Screens have started to become a regular part of their daily routines. This has potential repercussions in terms of obesity, health problems and eye-sight issues. Kids can also start developing social challenges from a young age if they don’t put the screen down and go outside to play with other kids.
While the question may be complicated, the research is abundantly clear. It’s not about how much time they spend, but more about how they spend that time. Quality time trumps quantity of time every time.
Research from Oxford Internet also shone the light at this phenomenon. They studied 20,000 parents across a dimension of variable such as caregiver attachment, child emotional resilience, curiosity development, etc. They concluded that screen-time had no significant impact on the well-being of the child. The authors concluded that it was about how the kids spent their time and not how much.
Emphasize on quality time on-screen
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a comprehensive guideline on how best to utilize screen time. Through their research, they recommend that parents share screen-time with their kids to teach them essential skills that can impact their lives. Everything from social skill development to cognitive creativity can be enhanced using these devices. Children as young as 24 months can start interacting verbally using video chat and online chat games. It’s an added stimulus that enhances their verbal cortex significantly.
When you spend quality time with your kids, they benefit as you do. Children emerge smarter and readier for the challenges of life, when they’re exposed to the right stimulus. Informational and interactive apps are the most engaging when it comes to stimulating the mind of a young one.
Focus on content that engages and informs
Your kid will enjoy the variety and depth of content if it appears to them in the form of entertainment. That’s how we’ve transferred knowledge over generations, through stories and plays. When apps can make math more fun, kids can focus that much better in school. You can even spark a new interest in a subject if it presented to them in an appealing manner.
This means that subject areas, where the student is weak in, can become more engaging through screened content. Parents can create new found love for tough subjects, when kids can learn freely during playtime.
Increased parental control
Apps that are designed to create parental locks and controls work best in these situations. It starts from the schools and all the way to the parents. Apps like PREto3 start early and provide all the necessary information to parents and schools. These apps inform, educate and create a bond through the online medium of mobile. You don’t feel like you’re missing out on the crucial learning state of the child. Parental controls also show you the average time used, or time spent using a certain game or app. This gives you an average estimate as to what the child has been doing with their device throughout the duration.
Balance is key
Research focusing on phycological factors, showed that adolescents are least happy when they spend all their time on-screens. Whether that be a replacement for other issues or a way of distraction, kids can get hooked onto these devices if left unmonitored. Due to the infinite exploration capability of mobile devices, there is a sense of constant attachment to the phone. Kids need to understand the idea of balance from a very young age.
Teaching the importance of value
Value is essential, especially when you’re spending time doing something. Value is derived from the nature of the activity, meaning that wasting time is wasting life. That’s why children need to learn about the idea of value derived from things. An informative hour of math and science has more value than a few hours of mindless video games. However, an hour of social gaming can be beneficial for the young one as they develop social and motor skills early on.
Sleep, nutrition and routine management
Children need a routine, and screen time shouldn’t become a part of one. There should be a healthy balance between eating right, sleeping right and learning right. Mobile devices and screens should not be prioritized over nutrition and sleep. All screens should be put away when the child is eating their meal, along with a strict nap-time and sleeping-time arrangement. Children need to feel empowered about their choices and not forced into doing so. When you focus on nutrition and healthy sleeping habits, their over-reliance on devices fades away. They become more interested in outdoor activities instead.