Remember when we worried about television rotting our brains, then it was video games? Now it’s smartphones and tablets on top of that. We love to be entertained by movies, t.v. shows, music and games, but at what cost? In the city that I live in, my children are required to have ipads for school. They use them for testing, reading, communicating with the teacher and much more. I truly believe that technology is a must for today’s education, but exactly how much is too much?
I personally try to limit my children’s use of technology in different ways and for various reasons. I’ve learned that my daughter will get headaches after too much ipad usage and that my son is a bit overactive after too much screen time. So for video games and ipad usage, I have a 1:1 policy, so for every hour they read, they can have an hour on their devices. I try not to let them spend more than one hour at any one time on the ipad. For television, I keep it limited to children/kid friendly shows only and the time kind of depends on what we may have going on at the moment. To get away from technology, I try to get them to be more active (easier in warmer months), trips to the library, crafts, etc. The money I spend at Hobby Lobby to keep them busy, I should probably buy stock in the company. I will also have days that I just say no technology, just read or play. The colder months are a little more difficult to regulate but the key is to keep as many non-technology activities available as possible.
I’ve read several different studies on the effects of too much screen time and they all vary, it all depends on the source. There is so much to consider and it is ultimately up to each individual parent to decide what is best for their child. Just as a small challenge, eliminate all technology for one full day, and see if you notice any, even the slightest bit of change in mood or behavior. If so, limiting screen time is something you should consider.
Here’s an easy read recently published by NPR on screen time and 5 things to consider.