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The Right Screen Time For Kids

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  • October 21, 2020
  • Dr. Hetal Dave

Ideas to limit screen time in children

Piling Workload and Home care Schedule leave parents with very short time to spend with their child. Mounting household chores cut through what little time you might manage to cook up. So, the whole question arises on how to engage children at home all through the day?

Kids, being these little balls of curiosity, get bored of the same activity very quickly and are constantly looking for new and new challenges. As a result, parents usually turn to the go-to solution of today’s world- GADGETS. These Gadgets with their overflowing stream of content, keep children engaged day in and out. But, are these gadgets the correct way to engage your child?

NO, THEY AREN’T!

There is more to engaging children with meaningful activity than just ridding them of their boredom. Children need to have PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & COGNITIVELY STIMULATING TASKS every day

Screen Time

With screens virtually everywhere, controlling a child’s screen time can be challenging. Young brains need a lot of external stimulus to develop specially from birth to age 3. Skills such as vision, hearing, language develop during this time.

Consider a child watching a video as opposed to listening to a parent reading the book. It’s a far different experience for the child. While hearing the story, children imagine objects that they hear while on a screen everything is provided to them. This leads to underdevelopment of a lot of cognitive skills.

When children spend a lot of time in front of the screen, they have stunted development of the frontal lobe – the part of brain which decodes Social Interaction. It can lead to develop less empathy and understanding facial expression and cues.

The Stimulation from the screen can be a lot – colors, sounds, stories- all at a superfast pace. This can lead to SENSORY OVERLOAD. This releases a stress hormone such as Cortisol. They can also trigger brain’s reward system that releases the addictive hormone Dopamine, making the kids used to immediate gratification of needs which is not possible in the real world.

Most Scientists believe that excessive screen time causes alteration in young developing brain but in some ways that change can be positive.

You’ll need to decide how much media to let your child use each day and what’s appropriate. To ensure quality Screen Time: -

  • Preview Programs, Games and Apps before allowing your child to view or play with them.
  • Seek out interaction options that engage your child, rather than those that just require pushing and swiping or staring at the screen.
  • Use Parental controls to block or filter internet content.
  • Set reasonable limits for your child’s screen time, especially if your child’s use of screen is excess.
  • Create tech-free zones or times, such as during mealtime or one night a week
  • Set and enforce daily or weekly screen time limits and curfew such as no exposure, to device or screens 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Limit your own screen time
  • Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom

So, Screen time isn’t all that bad, and not everything we watch on screen is created equal. The Educational game isn’t the same as a violent movie!

Strongly believe that “Moderation & Monitoring” is the key

Moderation: - Quantity of Screen time

Monitoring: - Quality of Screen time

Limiting the Screen time and making sure that the child can function in regular environment and not just screens is essential.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child up to 24 months should ideally not have any screen time with an exception of video calling! For a child between 2yrs-5yrs, 1 hour or less is an ideal screen time.

Managing your child’s use of screen and media will be an ongoing challenge! But by developing household rules you can help ensure a safe experience!

Published by

Dr. Hetal Dave

7 Articles

Dr. Hetal Dave is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist working in the field of Paediatrics with an experience of over 6 years. She has a special training in treating kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder from Com DEALL,...

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