Im not here to preach to you to remove all technology from your children. I am a mum in the modern world. I use, and love, screen time. I value it for the 5 minutes of quiet time it gives me. BUT and there is a big but…
Prolonged exposure to screen time has been proven by research to have a detrimental effect on our children's mood, learning and ability to sleep.
(World Health Organisation, April 2019)
This is not to say we need to drop the iPad and start churning our own nut butter in a totally modern mamma kind of way. But as a mum I have recognised there is a time and place for screen time, and I can honestly say apps like reading eggs have been phenomenal in my daughters learning. BUT I limit it. I don’t let her have it every day, and when she does, there is a time limit.
WHY DO SCREENS POSE SUCH A PROBLEM FOR OUR KIDS?
The most worrying thing as a parent these days is the accessibility of the WHOLE internet, trolls, bullying and all. There are many publicised articles discussing the “toxic” effect of screen time. There is more to consider than just the screen itself. Its the content they see, the seemingly safe content. The recent scare of you tube kids being interfered with scary images, ideas on how to kill. That is petrifying to me as a parent.
There is also the physical impact. Children are more sensitive to light because their eyes are still developing. We all know light, especially white light, negatively affects sleep. So that time spent in front of the iPad could be doing more harm than good. The negative impact of the light, the small screens and the flashing lights on their immature eyes.
Screen time has been associated with delays in meeting developmental milestones. There is also the lost opportunities of socialising, outdoor games, exercise, even simple conversation that instead nowadays is replaced by screen time, not only in children but in adults too.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
Try to instil the importance of imagination, game playing, interaction rather than screen dependence. I want my children to know that although it’s good, there is more to life than screen time.
Current recommendations are
Children under two have NO screen time.
Children 3-4 have 1 hour of screen time per day
Screen time must not occur for more than 1 hour before bedtime.
Does this happen in your household? The World Health Organisation recommends sit less, play more!
I agree! Let your kids be kids!
Let's also get self critical - let's be a role model for our children and turn off our screens too.
Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.