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Children’s screening time- How to NOT be a Couched Potato

Posted on November 15 2016

How often should children be in front of the screen? Is it Informative or derogatory to the child?

For example, the TV should be in shared spaces or the master bedroom. That way even if children have access to it, it will be under supervision. Screening time is necessary only when it is utilized in the correct form, such as for learning something new. For example, several children in America get their homework online, so they have to use their computers.

    1. Kids who spend too much time in front of a screen can potentially have a few problems such as, little sleep or too much weight gain, says David Hill, MD, chairman of the American Academy of Paediatrics Council on Communications and Media.Lack of Sleep
    2. They miss out on the essential face to face opportunity. Although we live in a tech-savvy generation, it is best to build relationships the old school way, which is face to face. Parents should encourage their children to go out into nature's world and experience the joy rather than being cooped up at home in front of a set top box.Face to Face
    3. Pay attention to the content they watch on the screen. For example, although this is controversial too much exposure to violent media can be harmful to kids. It can rub them off the wrong way. Violent video games are said to set back children; they influence the children, and they act violently towards others.Act Violently
    4. Screen time can be made useful, but only if there is something informative shown. For example, discovery channel, or the history channel. When children become too demanding instead of shoving your iPad or iPhone in their hands, think of another way to keep them occupied. For example, give them crayons and a colouring book. Children’s focus has been directly correlated with the amount of screen time they and the fast paced movies they watch. Because they look at a lot of fast paced movies/shows, they watch. The more they look at the TV, the more they get distracted.
    5. The parents should provide alternatives to children. For example, playgrounds where they can interact with others, and do not need a ‘screen’ to do so.
    6. Children copy what they see. Their mirror neurons get activated, when they see their environment, (parents) perform a particular behaviour. Although they have their different wiring of their brain, they are thoroughly influenced by their parents. If the parents are continuously on the phone, or on the laptop while they are simultaneously engaging with them, that’s exactly what they will learn.

    Too much of anything is harmful. A little bit of screening time is alright for the child, but it should be limited, or treated as a reward. Excessive amounts of it can deteriorate the child’s brain, even later on in life. Generations survived WITHOUT ‘screen time’ and they were happy doing other things such as playing in ground, or acquiring new skills such as learning how to play a musical instrument or practicing a sport.

    About The Expert:
    Tara Sheth is our Expert at Brainsmith. She is currently pursuing Masters in Education with a specialisation in Child Psychology from Columbia University, New York City, United States. Previously she has worked as a per-primary teacher and she loves children and is enthusiastic to work with them.