How to Reduce Screen Time in Children

How to Reduce Screen Time in Children

Nowadays, long screen time has become a prevalent issue among everyone. Parents prevent children from spending time on screen, but they are also addicted to it.

A few days ago, I went to the doctor for my eye checkup. His clinic was not very big, so there was a ‘Silence Please’ board in the waiting area. And there the receptionist took special care to maintain peace in the clinic. After a while, a young lady came in with her small child. The child must not be more than three years old.

The doctor had a crowd of patients, so it was apparent that the lady’s number would arrive late. I thought that by then, her child would not be able to remain silent. And the lady will have to bear scold from the receptionist.

But nothing like that happened. The lady came and sat down quietly and pulled out the phone from her bag. Turning on the phone, she set some program and handover the mobile to the child. For the next hour, the child kept watching the phone comfortably, without speaking anything to anyone.

In the meantime neither he sought water, nor did he persist in going anywhere, nor did he talk to his mother. Her mother also took out another phone from the bag, and she too was busy all the time on her phone.

Both the mother and the child were happy and comfortable. I thought that what would have been the difference if I had come to this place some years ago with my child.

I would have had a big bag with water bottles, food items, toys, indoor games and children’s storybooks. In one hour of waiting, I had to work hard to keep the child calm.

I thought of how useful technology has become nowadays. And it has made everyone’s life so comfortable. Even though parents are unable to give children much time, but by handing them over to television sets and phone, the children remain happy.
When I got my number with the doctor, I eagerly asked the doctor how much time on the screen affects the development of children. The doctor told me a few things about that and recommended me the WHO website to gather information.

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/24-04-2019-to-grow-up-healthy-children-need-to-sit-less-and-play-more

According to the WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is harmful to watch the screen by children under the age of one year.

Children over one year can see only for an hour. But if he does not watch at all, then it will be better for them.

According to the WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics, children must spend maximum time in different types of activities. The more they remain active, the more it is beneficial to their health.

There are following harmful effects of long screen time.

1 More screen time affects children’s ability to think.

2 A sedentary lifestyle increases obesity.

3 Their sleep also affects, and when they are sleep deprived,  gradually, their symptoms like depression begin to appear.

4 Scientists believe that by staying on the screen, the electromagnetic rays of the screen activates a chemical called dopamine inside the brain, due to which spending time on social media and on-screen becomes a habit.

5 Online social media platforms do not help to learn to interact with people in real life. Therefore, parents need to work hard to let the children stay away from the screen.

This work is not easy, but it is not impossible. Parents can act smart by changing there work schedule a little to give their children better health.

Following are the solutions to prevent the children from staying on screen.

1 Practice what you preach:

Before teaching others, one must change their habits first because people follow practices and not teachings. People often use their phones while walking in the morning. They check out online social media updates now and then.

To overcome this habit, they should try to keep the phone away from them.  If the phone is not visible for some time, then people will engage themselves in some other work.  And when they are involved in some other work, then they will not see the phone.

But if the phone is right in front, then it is difficult to have self-control. If you need to keep the phone with you, then use the phone when it is necessary. Talking on the phone for a long time is not suitable for health.

2 Inspire children to play outside

Parents can play with the children out. Parents should inspire them to play, make new friends and try to spend more time with nature. For this, if parents accompany the children for outdoor activities, the children will soon develop this habit.

3 Overuse of television

Unnecessary use of TV at home will make the children habituated on screen.

Parents can involve the children in other activities like indoor games, dance, music, painting etc.

Parents should inspire their children to learn creative work. Practising creative activities will increase children’s self-worth.

If they begin to feel happy in other things, the screen time will automatically decrease.

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