A minutes peace…
The growing debate on if parents should be allowing their child screen time – how long for – if at all – is hotting up.
Professionals such as child physiologists are urging parents to limit or even place a ban on certain ages of children being permitted screen time. Whilst some parents are claiming that screen time is necessary at certain times of the day when you are trying not only to entertain your child but to give yourself a well earned few minutes piece.
Many parents argue that screen time is no different to what they grew up with – being plonked in front of a TV screen at the age of 2 watching some giant bright red ball being bounced around the screen on Seaseme Street displaying the Letter A!
However should parents be limiting the time they let their child have as screen time? Years ago – before cable and satellite channels also before on-demand came on the scene it was regulated by what time that particular programme was scheduled to be on TV. Now if your child wants to watch Peppa Pig at any time of the day its readily available.
Many parent’s insist there is nothing wrong with allowing prolonged screen time as its the new way of life – the future, the new normal and we have to move with the times plus it helps with the child’s learning and development especially of technology so why are some experts concerned – are they too not parents who need the down time!
Some experts warn – its not the device itself its the length of time some children are spending on them, and the pattern of behaviour it is bringing out in the child – that prolonged screen time is like an addition, and too much is like a ‘drug’ to them and they are unable to rationalise.
Just as when home video games came out some teenagers even adults were spending hours even days hooked on the adrenaline that gaming gave them.
Psychiatrists warn that children as young as 2 who are spending several hours on devices will start to show signs of addition, and display irrational tenancies including things such as behavioural problems, lack of attention span and mood swings.
They also warn that in children and teenagers prolonged screen time can cause depression: Children who spend more than two hours per day in front of their screens tend to have more depressive symptoms.
Although other studies counteract the argument and have shown that screen time isn’t all bad, some tests have found that some screen time is better for mental health than none at all.
How much screen time you allow your child is essentially up to you the parent. But all the experts are advising that it is all about moderation and its essential that limits and boundaries are set.
So if your 6 year old is having a temper tantrum after you have taken away their screen time after an hour think if its a quiet life you want or a balanced one – in truth in this day and aged itsx a difficult decision to make!
I certainly think there needs to be more research on this topic before we decide or condemn.
However its important that screen time doesn’t come between important play time and family fun time – especially out in the fresh air.