If the ‘90s kid in you thought that the television was a menace, wait till a Gen-Z kid tells you how they cannot live without their iPad and iPhone. Especially now in the times of Covid-19, where children have online classes, screens have become a part of today’s culture—something they cannot do without.
At such times, it’s important to reduce the use of electronic devices during the rest of the day. You can also invest in a pair of computer glasses from Lenskart’s Blu Block Computer Glasses from the kid’s range. that will protect their vision. Think physical activities (to reduce the risk of obesity), reading, and playtime (to avoid eye strain) as alternatives to electronic devices.
As per general pediatricians, an acceptable amount of screen time is as follows:
- No screen time for kids under 2
- One hour per day for children between ages 2 to 12
- Two hours per day for teens and adults
Increased Screentime And Its Effects on Kids
We are often faced with the question — does looking at our screens for too long lead to eyesight problems, particularly later in life? While the evidence around it is inconclusive, it still does not stray away from the fact that it does cause a variety of other health issues as we age.
Increase screentime results in harmful effects such as:
- Eye redness, pain, itching
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Dry eyes
A few other health-related side effects may include:
- Sleep problems
- Chronic neck and back problems
- Depression, anxiety, and lower test scores
Easy Tips To Limit Screen Time For Kids
Today, unfortunately, children (toddlers and teens alike) spend about 10 hours in front of the screen. How to limit this? Here are a few tips you must try.
1 Set An Example
Just like everything else, before we preach to others it is recommended to start implementing our advice in our own lives. As they say, parents are the first role models to their kids — before you sit back and binge watch that TV series you have wanted to watch for a while, do note that you are setting an example for your kids to do the same. Your kids will imitate you in more ways than one.
Similarly, keeping the television on just for the background noise or while you’re mindlessly scrolling on your phone every chance you get is also not a very healthy thing to do around your kids.
2 Educate Yourself On All Things Tech!
Today’s kids are more tech-savvy. Hence, as a parent, you should be just as well-versed with tech and devices as your child. Be up-to-date with the latest apps, games, and social media platforms. This will help you to educate your child about the risks of social media and violent video games.
This is especially useful because unless you know about the adversities of social media yourself, you cannot help protect your children from them. Certain video games that are released these days are violent in nature and unless you know and stay up-to-date about these games, you wouldn’t be able to help prevent your children from consuming them.
3 Create A Technology-Free Zone
We’ve been told that tech devices must be kept away when we eat, or before sleeping. Implement that in your household too. Establish zones in your house where absolutely no electronic devices are allowed — dining area, or kitchen (areas reserved for meals and family conversations only!). Since a sudden change in your child’s routine might not sit well with the growing kids, it is recommended you make this a daily habit from early on.
4 Encourage No-Tech Activities
How many children do you know today who run out to play the first chance they get? Or invest their free time huddled into books? We can count on one hand, that’s how many we know of. Relying on your phones and tablets is easy when that is all you see around, but playing outside – a game of badminton or cycling, reading a book, or digging out old board games is no less fun. Increasing your child’s outdoor exposure can have a very beneficial effect on the eyes and overall health. Activities like cooking help kids become self-sufficient from a young age, while gardening brings them close to nature.
5 Keep Your Child’s Bedroom Screen-Free
This might sound like an obvious way to limit screen time for children but when it comes to acting on the said rule, only a few are successful. Make it a rule that TV, video games, and computers are not allowed in your child’s bedroom. This also applies to phones and tablets that your child may be tempted to use at night.
6 Ask For Your Child’s Passwords
While this might sound like an extreme step to take and even a violation of their privacy, if your child is under the age of 18 and is on social media, it is essential to stay in the loop as to what your kid is up to. Kids don’t always have the maturity necessary to handle online interactions and can be vulnerable to cyber-bullying. Figure out the best way to handle this in the most mature and family-friendly way, while also letting your child have their own privacy and autonomy.
7 Adjust Screen-Time Limits As Your Child Gets Older
For kids who are not very little anymore (secondary and elementary school-going) and teens, parents may want to involve them more in the decision-making process around the house. Discuss with them how much screen time the whole family should get. Once you’ve settled on a plan, stick to it.
Always remember as a parent you’re a role model to your children and they will do what they see you doing because they learn through imitation. Ensure you set an example for them and also be supportive of their interests and passion when it comes to screen-related activities.