Screen Time

I wrote about our screen addiction some time ago. Its effects on children are much more harmful but I couldn’t find suitable words to write a post on it. Now we received a note on this subject from our daughter’s kindergarten which explained this topic very well. Here it is:

“TV, computers and iPads have become an integral part of society, but what does it do to the health of our children? The latest studies link conditions such as childhood obesity and A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) with watching TV and too much screen time on iPads and computers. Watching TV and playing computer games are sedentary activities. Commercials advertise health-damaging junk foods that are geared towards children. Watching TV and playing computer games discourage children from interacting with others, can go much too fast for the child’s developing brain and prevents normal conversational language from evolving. When children spend time on the computer, watching TV and playing video games, they tend to eat more. Usually the food they consume is junk food. The leading beverage consumed is soft drink. This lack of exercise combined with consuming extra empty calories can lead to childhood obesity.

Watching TV and and playing computer games such as on the play station overloads children’s brains with information in a short period of time, causing developing brains to be over stimulated. This can cause permanent damage in the child’s developing neural pathways. When the child starts school, they often have trouble paying attention. For every hour a day of TV watched between the ages of one and three, the risk of ADD goes up by 10%.

Children should watch a maximum two hours a day of TV, computer or video games. Between the ages of one and three, less than two hours would be better. Children tend to watch more when the TV is in their bedroom, so take the TV out.

Children’s health is greatly at risk; it’s time to limit the amount of TV, computer and video games they watch and to also view the content. Monitor how long children watch TV or play on the computer by showing them on a clock or with a timer. It gives them empowerment. It doesn’t always work, as children are easily distracted, but at least parents are making children aware of time limits. Explain to children what a TV does to them; make them aware of consequences but still keep an eye on the time they spend on their video games, computer and their TV.”

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