When I was a child, my mother used to tell me that TV would rot my brain. Of course, it didn’t…children did!
Today, we still have the same concerns about screen time. The difference is, today our screens can follow us everywhere we go.
So, the question remains, how much screen time is too much?
A recent article in Fortune ascertains that “what kids are doing on screens is much more important than how much time they spend with screens.”
The truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of research into the effects of screen time. The National Institutes of Health is planning a multi-year, $300 million study of 11,000 children, but we won’t know the results for quite some time yet.
What we already know, is that there is a link between higher screen times and obesity and depression. What we don’t know, is which one led to the other. Are obese and depressed children just more likely to stay indoors and focus on screens? Or, do the screens lead to obesity and depression?
Regardless of the study’s outcome, I think that the issue of screen time limits is something that needs to be set individually based of the child and the family situation.
In my opinion, screen time shouldn’t be interfering with school work, family time, or outdoor play time. Screens should also be limited around bed time, especially on school nights, to allow children to decompress and prepare for a good night’s rest.
The reality is that screens are here to stay. We need to learn to balance screen time with physical play time for our children, and our selves. Eliminating screen time for your child isn’t going to do them any favors either, and it may ultimately lead them to fall behind.
Just like the thousands of other things that come along in our lives as parents, we need to be the masters of our own domain. We need to pay attention to our children’s behaviors and adjust accordingly.
So, when the question arises about screen time, and how much is too much, the answer is simple…it depends on the kid, and the day, and content.