BALANCED SCREEN TIME BENEFITS CHILDREN
First, Let’s Look at the Guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:
- Toddlers: focus on physical playtime for babies and toddlers and only use educational media with young children 18 months and older.
- Ages 2 and 5: screen time should not exceed one hour per day and needs to involve the parent who can help their child learn from educational programs.
- Ages 6 and older: place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
- Ages 10-18: the CDC recommends no more than 1-2 hours of total screen time per day.
Honest, Simple Parenting Advice
Whether you're a strict mom or a laid back mom, when it comes to screen time. Like everything in life, balance is key. And every family and individual has their own personalized limits.
Part of finding balance is knowing the risks. When overused, studies show that screen time can have negative effects on:
- Sleep: Screen viewing, specifically on portable devices, has a negative effect on the amount of sleep children of all ages get, but more so in children under the age of ten.
- Activity level: In some studies, obesity has been linked to excessive TV watching as a child.
- Cognition: Studies suggest that kids who spend more than 2 hours per day looking at a screen score lower on thinking and language tests.
5 Benefits of Balanced Screen Time
Information on the dangers of screen time is everywhere; however, there are also many benefits to using a balanced screen time.
This unique article published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) highlights some potential cognitive, social, motivational, and health behavioral benefits associated limited screen time usage.
Mix these study results in with some realistic mom benefits, and you have the following 5 that moderate screen time offers:
1. Educational Boost
When introduced to the right programs and games, screen time can be both fun and educational for kids.
One study showed association between watching educational shows and improved social behaviors in preschoolers; including higher quality academic performance with lasting effects through high school.
2. Needed Down Time
Some kids stop napping at 20 months old.
Even though they won't nap, they still need to sit and have some quiet time so they won't be cranky.
A quick TV program or tablet time helps them slow down and rest in the middle of a busy day.
Since 70-80% of careers require some level of computer usage, it's best if your children develop some technical skills, that could help them in the future.
4. Social Interaction
Who hasn’t used their screens to connect with friends and family over the past few years?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a statement that noted that screen time can be used to enhance social connection and community participation. Allowing your kid to use their device to communicate with trusted people can offer a great opportunity to connect with others.
Of course social media can be a dangerous place for kids; therefore this must be monitored.
5. Gives Mom a Moment to Recharge
Hear us out. Screen time can INDIRECTLY effect children in a positive way by giving mom a moment to recharge.
We are much better mom's when we feel focused, relaxed, and in control.
You are not selfish or lazy if you encourage your child to safely rest using screen time so that you can take a moment to catch your breath. Your kid will appreciate it when you approach them with love and excitement after a necessary moment to yourself.
Not only does screen time (not exceeding the recommended limits) have some benefits for your child, it also gives parents the opportunity to teach their kids about moderation.
When you fully deny your child of screen time, they will not have the skills to control their own technology usage as the grow up.
Next time you feel shame related to your kid’s screen time, remind yourself that you are simply raising well-rounded, responsible, and technical kids. Or- you are taking a much needed breath, and there is nothing wrong with that.
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