Parents, Too Much Screen Time is Harmful for Your Children

Parents, Too Much Screen Time is Harmful and Here’s Why…

 This is a topic of concern for the well being of everyone.

 Technology has changed our lives dramatically: from looking up directions in a telephone book to google maps, from knocking on someone’s door to see if they’re home to play   to preferring to face time a friend instead. Yes, technology has changed our lives, but is it for the better? According to the most recent research, the effects of too much screen time on a child’s brain development is harmful and damaging. What we once thought was harmless, like handing a 3-year-old a phone to play with, is now being shown to have very negative effects on the development of a child’s brain socially, emotionally, and physically.

Technology reduces a child’s ability to regulate their emotions, and to understand the emotions of others…

Catherine Steiner a Clinical Psychologist has been studying the effects of technology on children. According to Steiner, too much screen time rather than your child interacting socially harms a child’s ability to listen deeply, learn social cues, to empathize with others, and communicate. For children to be successful in life, children need to have meaningful conversations with someone they love at home.

During the crucial years of a child’s brain development, screen time can cause inattention later on in life…

Your child’s attention and learning may be at stake. According to Dimitri Christakis a pediatrician, parent, and researcher revealed in a recent study that too much exposure to rapid image change in media on a device or on the television can cause inattention later on in life. So when your child is in an environment where it is slower paced like school they lack the ability to focus because they are over stimulated with media.

Technology and media use affects the brain the same way a stimulant drug does ESPECIALLY for children under the age of 3.

Another major concern for the public is that use of technology is highly addicting. Playing a video game, using a touch screen phone, or using a tablet stimulates the brain the same way a stimulant drug does.  So if you notice your child getting angry or upset when you say no to them when they want your phone or when you take a device away it is highly likely your child is addicted to the device unknowingly.

Too much screen time= harder time learning and solving complex problems

Teacher’s are also concerned about too much technology use, and the effect it has on a child’s capacity to not give up easily when it comes to solving a difficult problem, learning something new, and retaining information. Children who are exposed to too much screen time often become frustrated with a difficult problem and or are bored learning in the classroom because of the way their brains are used to being stimulated by media. When children are exposed to too much gaming or stimulation their brains are used to completing levels quickly, and earning rewards at each level. This stimulates the reward center in the brain. However, when it comes to solving a complex problem or learning something new in the classroom, there are no rewards other than acquiring new information, and a child’s brain does not light up the same way that they are used to having when gaming or playing on a device. Therefore, children who are exposed to too much screen time have a more difficult time when being faced with challenges in and outside the classroom especially when it comes to solving problems without being rewarded. Their motivation to learn unless they are rewarded decreases as a result.

Family Time vs. Screen Time-is a no brainer

If we want our children to be independent problem solvers who persevere through challenges then we must take into account how much time they are spending on a screen. If screen time is taking up too much quality family time, and it is replacing other activities then it might be time to reconsider the time spent on our devices. The less screen time the better. If your child is spending a few hours a day on technology then that might be too much. Some schools use technology already in the classroom so monitoring your child’s use of devices at home can significantly impact their lives in a positive way.  One of many great ways to connect with your child is by putting away all the devices, and having meaningful conversations at home at the dinner table. Simply asking them how their day was, and sharing stories with them is a great way to connect and spend quality time together as a family.

 

-Sarah McCourt

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