These days, children and screen time are no longer uncommon. We can see children with their own gadgets or devices anywhere, all the time. Not just that, we may also have experienced this scenario while shopping in malls, dining in restaurants, or even among our own family members. And, even if we don’t provide our children with any gadgets, they will still know how to use them. In short, there is no getting away from it now that we live in the digital age.
What is screen time?
Screen time refers to activities such as watching television, working with laptops, or even playing video games. To conclude, it is an activity that takes place in front of a gadget’s screen. During screen time, the energy expended is way too little which may lead to an unhealthy lifestyle or routine especially among children.
How do children and screen time related?
According to Astro Awani, there is a study by Associate Prof. Dr. Nora, a consultant psychiatrist of International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) that talks about children’s usage of gadgets. In the study, she stated that the significant increase in screen time among children has been one of the knock-on effects of staying indoors. This is due to the enforcement of the movement control order since March 2020. Particularly, for their PdPR (home-based teaching and learning) sessions, children of all ages, including pre-schoolers now required to use computers and the internet.
It is concerning because children tend to divert their attention to online games and social networking sites like TikTok and YouTube without proper supervision. Not to mention how, these days, toddlers and even infants are given screens just to keep them calm. These behaviours inhibit children’s learning while also contributing to screen addiction in them.
The effects of screen time addiction in children
There are a few effects that parents can observe if their children tend to be overexposed to screens:
- The child tends to get a bad night’s sleep – This may be due to the over-excessive screen light exposure.
- Children tend to deal with health issues – Usually related to sight problems at an early age.
- The child easily loses interest in people or physical activities – At this stage, children usually avoid direct contact with outside activities or even bonding with parents.
- The child cannot focus and needs to be instructed a few times – Parents can observe this when the children are unable to keep eye contact while conversing.
- Children tend to have attention and emotion issues, or even social anxiety – Parents can observe this once the children are off-screens. Some may throw tantrums, and others may be unable to socialise with their peers when they are outdoors.
Consistency is key
It is indeed unavoidable if you are feeling concerned about how much time your child spends on screens. All experts agree that the most crucial component in successfully managing your child’s gadgets usage is by being consistent. Always be firm with whatever application or guidelines that you decide to establish. Last but not least, it is also important to remember that you are the parent! So, you are the one who is in charge, not them. Best of luck!
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