Monday, August 19th, 2019

6 Ways Too Much Screen Time May Be Bad for Your Kids

Published on December 13, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

original

Jeffrey Green

Have you considered sending your child to rehab to help them overcome their addiction to the electronic screens of video games, cell phones and the like? While that may sound far-fetched to some parents who are themselves ‘screen addicts’, it’s an idea whose time has come.

Some countries consider childhood screen addiction to be a clinical disorder and have rehab facilities in which to treat the afflicted children. Too much screen time is bad for your kids’ health on many different levels and must be treated like any other addiction so the damage can be stopped, and hopefully reversed.

1. Sleep Deprivation

Without question the electronic screens of many devices are causing a crisis of sleep deprivation for all age groups. However, the loss of sleep is most detrimental to children. Kids need more sleep than adults due to their developing body and mind. The average child needs 10-12 hours of sleep each night in order for them to grow and develop properly, but screen time is shaving off hours of that much-needed sleep time. The average child is constantly sleep deprived and trying to learn, grow and develop on 6-8 hours of sleep per night at the most.

Children who sleep with electronic devices in the their bedroom get less sleep than those who leave the devices in another room of the home at night. Not only are the children playing games and texting when they should be asleep, but the blue light emitted from the devices hinders sleep even after the device is shut off.

All electronics, including cell phones, tablets, iPads and TVs, emit a blue light from the screen. The body interprets that blue light as daylight and the brain sends out the signal to wake up. Instead of being sleepy at bedtime, the child is now wide awake even when the electronic screen is shut off.

A kid who is suffering from sleep deprivation will typically be cranky, have an increased risk of obesity, have a short attention span, lack decision-making skills, have increased health problems, be lethargic and do poorly in school. And all of this can be traced back to too much screen time.

2. Obesity

The use of any device with an electronic screen seems to require the need to sit down, or at least be still, while using. The sedentary nature, combined with ads for high-calorie junk food, often leads to childhood obesity. Children are naturally full of energy and have an inborn need to run, jump and otherwise be active. When that normal desire to be active is curtailed and they sit on their haunches for hours on end, they will become overweight.

Obesity leads to a variety of health problems, including diabetes, joint problems and heart disease. Childhood obesity is an epidemic in most countries, too much screen time is the biggest contributing factor to the epidemic.

3. Vision Problems

There used to be a 20/20/20 rule for those who had to spend long hours working in front of their computer screens – every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That 20/20/20 rule was implemented to help prevent eye strain and potential vision problems in the future.

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