Are you worried that your little one is exposed to too much screen time? Does it bother you that televisions, laptops, mobiles and tabs have distracted children from outdoor play?
Are you looking for ways to reduce your little one’s screen time?
Well, you are not alone. Parents across the world are worried about their children’s physical, as well as, emotional health. Gadgets that had appeared to be a gift of technology are fast becoming a threat to the general well-being of children and adults as well. While they have added to our comfort and ease, these gadgets also emit harmful radiations.
The fact is that we allow children to play with gadgets from a very early age. As a result, they spend more time watching TV shows or playing mobile games, rather than reading story books or participating in any kind of physical activity. When this becomes an obsession, parents are unable to draw a line or decide how much is too much for the child.
Did you know that excessive screen time can harm more than just your little one’s eyesight? Read on to find out more how and what you can do to reduce your child’s screen time.
Watching TV, playing with mobile phones, or handling computers for long hours causes children to get fatigued and increase the chances of developing heart ailments, high blood pressure, weak eyesight and insomnia. Research has proven that radiations from these gadgets can penetrate the bones and affect them negatively causing low bone density and improper growth in babies and toddlers. They also become less energetic and feel tired all the time. Less outdoor activities make them physically feeble and obese.
Studies have also highlighted that when children get used to longer screen time per day, they become prone to anxiety and depression. They feel isolated from the real world and try to remain busy in the virtual world which makes their life tough as they are unable to deal with actual situations in life. They lose the ability to imagine and may also develop an addiction to gadgets and the virtual world.
Less social connection means fewer friends in the real life. As a result, children develop a fear of social interactions and deal with complexes in their relationships with friends and relatives.
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Kids who spend more time in front of the TV or computer gradually get fewer marks and lose interest in learning new things. They find it difficult to focus on their subjects and remain distracted.
As kids grow, they are more likely to spend money on smartphones, computers, apps, and computer games. They are unable to learn how to equally allocate money to other important aspects such as food, friends, gifts, fuel, etc. This becomes addictive and can lead them into borrowing or stealing as well in extreme cases.
It is very important to lead by example. As parents, do not spend all your time with these gadgets, especially when the kids are around. Let them see you put the phone down and give them all your attention. Spend more time with your kids and lead by example.
Engage your little ones in book reading, bedtime stories, outdoor play, games, physical activities, drawing, painting, music, group games, and board games (not the virtual ones). Play with them and give them all your attention when they want to spend time with you.
Keep the phones and computers out of the reach of your toddlers, as well as, children who are 5-6 years old. Buy them books and other interactive toys instead of new computer games and iPods. Form strict rules and do not give in.
Have meals without the TV on. Try to make them understand that meal times are the family times. Let them discuss their days while having dinner or lunch. This will let them enjoy your company while eating instead of the TV or the internet.
Take them to the nearby parks, zoos, fields, or monuments and let them have some positive time there. You can also arrange some play dates where they can meet their friends or cousins and play together in the nearby parks. This can also help them to understand the importance of having a social life with friends and neighbors.
Encourage your little one to pick up a hobby. Let them be creative in their own ways. Let them play and make a mess in the house. Buy them colors, paints, and DIY kits. Try to join in as much as possible.
Discuss with them the disadvantages of watching TV or using phone for long hours. Let them know the shortcomings of not having a healthy social life. You will be surprised that even toddlers understand.
Have a screen-free day once in a week. Nobody in your family will watch TV or computer on that day. Let them build the habit of spending time without being glued to the screens.
Monitor regularly what type of programs your toddler is watching or what type of games he is downloading on the computers. If they are too violent, objectionable, engrossing, or promote over obsessive behaviour, restrict access immediately.
If your child is already obsessed with regular screen time, do not take it away in one go. Talk it out and do some rationing of time. Fix slots and use screen time as reward. Meanwhile start distracting by enrolling your child in different classes like football, music, painting or any other. This will leave little time for gadgets. Slowly reduce the exposure from daily to weekends only. Then regulate the time spent. Use tact, not force.
These little steps will go a long way in helping you keep your little one away from the gadgets and constructively occupied until he or she can handle technology responsibly.
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