As summer continues, it is important to encourage kids to get outside and play! It is so easy for kids to have access to electronics and spend hours in front of a screen. Below I have outlined some of the negative effects screen time can have on the developing child’s brain and vision.
What Is Screen Time?
Screen time is any time spent using a computer, watching TV or DVDs, playing video games, or using any other electronic media device such as a tablet or smartphone.
Why Can Screen Time Be Harmful?
- It can create poor body image in children and youth, and may lead to the development of eating disorders.
- It may encourage aggressive behavior.
- It can lead to poor performance in school.
- Children who engage in increased screen time have a higher likelihood of obesity.
- It may also lead to increased alcohol use or abuse.
How Much Is Too Much?
For children under 2 years of age screen time should be avoided. Children this age learn best through interaction with others and exploring using toys. For school-aged children, two hours or less screen time per day is recommended.
Ideas to Replace Screen Time
Play a game, play catch, throw a Frisbee, ride a bike, take a walk, go to the park, read a book, paint or draw, make a craft, bake cookies, go swimming, play with toys/Play-Doh. Use your imagination! Ultimately, create rules about screen time and develop healthy routines. It may be beneficial to remove TVs and other electronics from bedroom areas. As always, encourage physical activity!