All over the world, there has been a growing concern over digital screen time among children, which has increased significantly in the past few years. A survey among Canadian parents found that children spend an average of six hours daily using phones, computers, and tablets. Experts warn against this as it may slow a child’s progress during these crucial developmental stages, given that screen time occupies the moments that should be spent on learning instead. Even worse, it can cause multiple issues, such as sleep problems, lack of focus, and behavioral changes, which can lead to health conditions like obesity and depression.
That said, with technology now an essential tool for schooling and socializing, it’s understandable that a child’s screen time might not be completely eliminated. Still, it’s up to the parents to protect their children from the effects of too much screen time. If you’re in need of some tips on how to accomplish this, here are some ways you can do so.
Use screen filters
One of the most harmful things about excessive screen time comes from digital displays. Electronic devices emit blue light, which can cause vision issues, and disrupt sleep cycles. The latter is especially important because sleep plays a huge role in the development of children. Additionally, kids that lack sleep are more irritable and prone to sickness. You can prevent this from happening by changing the settings of your children’s devices and turning on a blue light filter that reduces its effects. For example, Apple products like iPhones come with two built-in filters. One of them is called Night Shift, which warms the tone of the monitor. This will change your child’s screen to one that is easier on the eyes and less impactful to the circadian rhythm.
Get them glasses
Approximately 25% of Canadian children have vision problems. Unfortunately, these eye issues can worsen with too much screen time. This is why it’s vital to take care of your child’s eye health by providing the right protective eyewear. Most contemporary glasses today not only correct vision issues but help mitigate risks associated with screens by reducing glare, preventing dryness, fighting fatigue, and more. As an added bonus, trusted eyewear retailers often have special offers for kids. Eyewear retailer Clearly offers prescription kids glasses for free, and after booking an appointment and eye exam they’ll let your kids pick out any frames they want. They can also apply a blue light coating that will protect your kids from the harmful effects of electronic screens, as discussed earlier.
Set a cut-off time
Contrary to popular belief, kids actually thrive with healthy boundaries. Having a set routine helps them feel safer, become more independent, and keep them engaged. It also helps them develop self-discipline, which is why having clear expectations can help them be more responsible. It promotes the development of soft skills, which will prepare them for the future. In applying this concept to screen time, that means setting a time limit on how long they can use their devices. The Canadian Paediatric Society states that recommended screen time for children is about an hour or less. When setting these boundaries, it’s crucial to have a kind but firm tone when addressing them. Consistency is also key to making sure that they follow through.
It’s important to take certain measures to guarantee your child’s well-being, especially in this gadget-reliant society. Follow the tips above to protect your child from the dangers of too much screen time.