Screen Child silhouette
|Screen Time & Children
Perhaps the most important question for parents is "Who do you want to raise your children?"
You may know quality time is great, but that quantity time is also crucial. So, you can have all this desire to be a hands-on parent.
But parenting is extremely undervalued in our society. There is no
money or glory. Instead of being hands-on, we are forced into other
life demands like work.
To really be successful in caring parenting, society needs to change - see here and here. Until then, stop feeling guilty and do your best!
Did you know that modern screens are one contributor to the earlier
onset of puberty? Their blue light disrupts the brain's melatonin
system not only affecting healthy sleep patterns but also producing
premature puberty. Other factors are obesity and man-made chemicals in
plastics/cosmetics/pesticides/etc. (BBC, posted 5 January 2018, accessed 13 January 2018).
- No screens before age two.
- No screens in bedrooms.
- Screen time ends at least one hour before bedtime.
- Use a blue-light reducing program like f.lux to avoid disturbing natural sleep cycles and to avoid overearly puberty.
- Consistency of all this across multiple homes. In other words, all carers must do similar.
- Try earning or balancing TV/video game/social media time with: time spent in physical activity, nature, 'serving others' (seva). (Partly inspired by Dr Robert Lustig)
- You must try to model
the behaviour which you want to see! Do you exercise and spend
time in nature and hang out with real non-digital people?
Positives to Screen Time & Children
- 'All the evidence suggests young people are
increasingly shunning the unhealthy behaviours of previous generations. Not
only are they less likely to smoke, they drink less, take drugs less and
socialise less. The reason? Research suggests they have exchanged the
traditional vices for social media and
gaming.' (BBC, posted and accessed
29 March 2019)
- Center for Humane Technology [Take control of your phone!].
- Watching TV 'is bad for children' (BBC, 2004).
- Limit children's screen time, expert urges (BBC, 2012).
- Screentime and Arrested Social Development (Victoria Dunckley, MD, Psychology Today, 2016).
- Why adolescence is lasting twice as long as it did in the 1950s (BBC, 2018).
- Is social media causing childhood depression? (BBC, 2018).
- The trouble knowing how much screen time is 'too much' (BBC, 2018). [It's tricky, like judging sugar intake, when there's so many types of sugar/body/people].
- Tips on how to limit excessive screen time (BBC, 2019).
- Video Chats and Screen Time with Toddlers (Zero to Three, Peggy O'Mara, 2019).
- Virtual reality shoes are exhausting to use
(BBC, 2019) [Perhaps this will be a way to ensure physical activity happens
with screen time. Another way I have seen is a gaming set-up only powered by rowing.].
- Screen time 'may harm toddlers' (BBC, 2019).
- Screen time: Children advised not to use electronic devices at dinner (BBC, 2019).
- Screen-Free Week... (Peggy O'Mara, 2019).
- Social-media use 'disrupting teen sleep and exercise' (BBC, 2019) [Avoid fretting about screen time; rather emphasise sleep and physical exercise.]
- If you’re going to put your preschooler in front of a screen, choose a TV. Here’s why (Sophie Brickman, The Guardian, 2021)
[TV associated with less attention problems than a tablet. TV offers
more "serve and return interactions", i.e. more human-to human
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