In 2020, there are more reasons to spend more time in front of a screen than ever before. Statistical data on child and adolescent screen time shows that kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day. As children age, their screen time increases. Kids and teenagers of age 8 to 18 years now spend almost 5 hours a day in front of a television screen and almost 4 additional hours on the computer, including homework time. Counting all media types, 8 to 18 year-olds devote an average of 9 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day. Some of the screens times for kids use may include: cellular telephones, laptops, desktops, televisions, and tablets. Children and adults have legitimate reasons to be in front of screens for both work and school. Nevertheless, too much screen time for kids is still too much screen time. In the end, the negative impact of excessive screen time is something kids cannot afford.
The negative impact of too much screen time for kids may include, but is not limited to, reduced physical fitness and decreased brain development. Child experts agree that children are healthier when they spend less time sitting in front of a screen, i.e. computer screen, cell phone screen or television screen. More screen time usually means less time being physically active, resulting in children who spend their time being sedentary. Children already spend 6+ hours per day sitting during school hours. After adding to that more hours for screen time, children spend more time than ever before being sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle increases risk for obesity in childhood and adolescence. Studies show that obese children are more likely to become obese adults with health complications. Also, when children use screen time as a replacement for recreational time to get away from the daily drudgery of dreaded homework, they miss out on key opportunities for physical movement that builds brain connections. It is noteworthy to mention that when children engage in physical activities, it floods the brain with important nutrients and neurotrophins. Physical movement helps the brain form those neural pathways, a process called neurogenesis. Basically, limiting your child’s physical activity may limit brain development. A sedentary lifestyle changes your child’s brain structure literally. However, there is hope for children when parents introduce healthy habits and a more active lifestyle.
Remember, you are the parent. It is up to you to set limits for your child.