Don't Let Your Children Become Device Zombies.

The introduction of screens into childhood has kids spending a lot less time playing outside. If you feel like your child is spending a lot of time on gadgets you’re not a bad parent and you’re also not alone. 

A recent study that was published in the Preventive Medicine Reports journal found that children who spend seven or more hours a day on screens are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety as opposed to those who only have an hour of screen time daily.

According to a poll ran by Wakefield Research, 76% of parents said their kids are more addicted to their digital devices than candy. Say what? That’s because digital screens really ARE addictive.

Dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction, is released by the stimulation from electronics. Ever wondered why watching all those crazy cat videos is so satisfying? In children, the effect is worse because their brains aren't developed enough for them to feel satisfied in small doses. That’s why young kids can spend hours and hours watching videos or playing games on smartphones and tablets.

Check out a few tips to reduce screen time. 

Screen Time Tips

The same parenting rules apply to screen time as to anything else - set a good example, establish limits, and talk with your child about it.

  • Determine how much screen time you will allow. In my house, we allow half an hour in the morning and again in the evening. Weekends, this extends to 45 minutes twice a day. My kids are busy with homework and activities, so they don’t always have time, but they always ask!
  • Explain the dangers. Show them the documentary Screenagers and clarify that you are not trying to ruin their fun. Rather, you are aiming to protect them, as any good parent should.
  • Research games and apps before getting them for your child. There are thousands of apps and games that claim to be educational, but not all of them are. Search online to see which ones educators and doctors consider the best.
  • Schedule plenty of non-screen time into your child's day.  Play is important for so many things, so young children should have time to play away from screens every day. Getting them in after school activities and structured classes is highly beneficial to all children. Family meals and bedtimes are also important times to put the screens away and interact with your child.   
  • Be a role model. We all could benefit from the rules we set for our kids. When you’re with your children, avoid being on or checking your phone. Kids will rightly cry hypocrite! Plus, giving them your full attention will be the greatest reward of all.


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