Parents try their very best to educate their children and create healthy lifestyles. Nowadays, with so many technologies, parents start to question how much time should kids spend on their screens and devices versus how much time they should spend playing outside.
While many parents believing technology and gadgets are essential for their children’s development, children are surrounded by PC's, consoles, smartphones, and tablets, so they tend to spend less and less time outside. Less time climbing trees, riding bikes and even swimming.
How much time should a child spend in front of a screen is a question that is asked not only by parents but by health organizations, psychologists, and even some governments.
Tablets and smartphones have become tools for parents, helping to keep their children entertained and consuming some educational and recreational content. Most parents also believe technology helps children become tech savvy.
Tablets and smartphones can be compared with the influence TV had on previous generations. TV was an easy “babysitter” for years, and now new gadgets and technology is used to replace the TV and keep our children busy.
The current generation of children spends much more time in front of screens than any previous generation. These studies show that the average child living in a Western country spends a full the year in front of a screen by the time he or she turns 7 years old.
Over the course of their childhood, many children spend more time in front of a screen then the time spent in school.
In 2015 the Cambridge University released some concerning stats from their research on this topic. After analysing more than 800 14 years old teenagers GCSE results for 2 years, researchers found that kids that spent an extra hour a day on screens saw a fall in their GCSE results overall. The most concerning part of this study was that even when students spent more time studying if they belong to the group of teens that had an extra hour of a screen a day, their academic grades were still adversely affected.
In 2013, the US Department of Health recommended that children below 2 years old should not spend any time in front of a screen. Over that age, children should spend a maximum of 2 hours a day in front of a screen.
In France, the government went a little further and banned digital TV aimed at children below 3 years old.
Experts say that a child that spends too much time in front of a screen in their childhood can easily become addicted to long periods of screen time, which will perpetuate the same behaviour for their entire life. This is a little tricky to prove, but a habit is a habit no less.The more time children spend in the virtual world, the less time they spend playing outside in the real world. Today’s children tend to have lower abstract and concrete thinking than children from previous generations. Simple length and weight measurements are not immediately interpreted by some children as those concepts don’t exist in the virtual world. This alone is a clear case that demonstrates how screen time can affect the overall educational development of children.
The more time children spend in the virtual world, the less time they spend playing outside in the real world. Today’s children tend to have lower abstract and concrete thinking than children from previous generations. Simple length and weight measurements are not immediately interpreted by some children as those concepts don’t exist in the virtual world. This alone is a clear case that demonstrates how screen time can affect the overall educational development of children.
So, in conclusion; “those in the know” all agree, that while the use of technology can help with a child’s development in small doses and under supervision, it’s also known that there are some very tangible negative impacts on children’s health and that the current generations are not getting enough open air play when compared to the increase of screen time.
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