How much time your child spends in front of smart devices? Here is the effect on their mental health and expert advice

There are already numerous scientific and medical studies warning against the negative and dangerous consequences of the unintentional use of electronic devices by children. A recent study draws attention to the amount of time a child spends in front of the screens of smart devices, and reveals the effect of this duration on their psychological health and happiness.

With electronic devices being so ubiquitous, it can be difficult to keep up with children’s use of these devices. To complicate matters further, some of the time they spend on electronic devices may be time to educate children and support their social development.

Many families and educators wonder how to control the period of the child’s use of electronic devices?

In this article, we present the results of a recent study that warns about the effect of viewing time on a child’s mental health and happiness, and advice from the Mayo Clinic medical website, in the form of an introductory guide to your child’s use of electronic devices and the media in general.

The health effects of prolonged viewing of smart device screens

A recent medical study revealed the impact of the long time children spend in front of smart device screens on their health and happiness.

A recent study by researchers from the University of South Australia said that children who play sports after school, take music lessons or communicate with their friends are happier and healthier than those who remain stuck in front of the screens of smart devices.

According to the same source, the study, the results of which were published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, included more than 62,000 children between the ages of 4 and 9, according to the UPI news agency.

The study, led by researcher Rosa Vergara, concluded that children who played video games after school, watched television and used social media had poorer health compared to those who participated in sports and arts activities.

The study also showed, through opinion polls distributed to children’s parents, that participating in activities other than spending hours in front of smart devices contributed to increasing levels of optimism, happiness and life satisfaction as they were able to to better control their emotions.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Vergara said: “I encourage parents to try to set certain limits around the use of smart devices, and to motivate children to participate in sports or mental and artistic activities. Exercise improves the mental health of children and contributes to the improvement of their academic performance. ”

Vergara stressed the need to work to ensure that children have access to sports and technical facilities at an acceptable cost, which will help support the less affluent classes in guiding their children to participate in such activities. to take.

Screen time: How to guide your child

According to the following report prepared by the Mayo Clinic team, the length of time a child spends in front of electronic devices is associated with a number of problems, and the team has proposed a number of guidelines on how to solve these problems .

+ Problems that occur due to the handling of screens

Spending too much time in front of electronic devices and constantly watching low quality programs is associated with:

  • obesity
  • Disturbed and insufficient sleep periods
  • behavioral problems
  • Delays in the development of language and social skills
  • violence
  • Attention problems
  • Reduced amount of time available to learn

Keep in mind, according to the report, that free playtime is more valuable than electronic media use for a young child’s brain development. Children younger than two years are more likely to learn when they interact and play with parents, siblings and other children and adults.

Two-year-olds can benefit from certain types of electronic viewing, such as music, movement and story programs. When you involve your child in watching, you can help him understand what he sees and apply it in real life. But passive viewing time should not replace reading, playing or problem solving.

+ Develop exam rules

According to the Mayo Clinic report, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of media for children under the age of 18 months except for video chat. If you provide digital media to children between the ages of 18 and 24 months, make sure it is of high quality and avoid using the media alone. For kids ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour per day of high-quality programming.

As your child grows, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, according to the same report. Decide how much media you allow your child to use daily and what kind of media is appropriate.

Consider applying the same rules to your child’s real and virtual environment. Either way, share play with your child, teach him empathy, share it and get to know his friends and what they do together. Also keep in mind that the quality of media your child is exposed to is more important than the type of technology or the amount of time spent.

To ensure you spend quality time looking at screens, according to the report:

  • Learn more about programs, games, and applications before you let your child watch or play with them. Organizations like Common Sense Media have software ratings and reviews to help you decide what’s right for your child’s age. Better yet, engage your child by watching, playing or using.
  • Look for interactive options to engage your child with, rather than those that have to push, swipe and stare at a screen.
  • Use the parental control system to block or filter the internet content you want.
  • Make sure your child is near you during screen time so that you can supervise his activities.
  • Ask your child regularly what programs, games and applications he has used throughout the day.
  • When watching a program with your child, discuss with him what you are watching and teach him about ads and commercials.

Also avoid fast-paced programs that children find difficult to understand, violent content programs, and attention-grabbing applications. Get rid of ads in programs because young children find it difficult to distinguish between ads and actual information.

+ Place restrictions on older children

The Mayo Clinic team report recommends that you set clear rules and reasonable limits for your child’s use of digital media. Try applying these tips:

  • Encourage free, unobtrusive play while staying away from devices.
  • Keep certain areas and times away from any technology, such as meal times or one evening a week.
  • Discourage the use of media entertainment while doing homework.
  • Set and enforce strict daily or weekly screen time limits, and set aside times to block them, such as blocking exposure to devices or screens an hour before bedtime.
  • Consider using an application that controls how long a child can use the device.
  • Keep devices with screens out of your children’s bedrooms and remember to require them to charge their devices outside their bedrooms at night.
  • Get rid of the TV running in the background.

+ Encouragement of digital knowledge

At some point, your child will be exposed to content that you have not approved, and to devices without internet filters. Talk to your child about the situations he or she may be exposed to, and about the behaviors you expect of him or her.

Encourage children to think critically about what they see on their screens. Ask your child to think about whether everything on the internet is accurate. Does your child know how to know if a website is reliable? Help your child understand that media is made by people who have perspectives. Explain that many types of technology collect data to send ads to users and to make money from them.

+ Learn appropriate behavior

Using online relationships and social media has become a big part of teens’ lives. Experts point out that it is good for a teenager to become part of these worlds, as long as they understand what the appropriate behavior is. Explain what is and is not allowed, such as sexting, cyberbullying and sharing personal information online. A child needs to be taught not to post or share anything online that he does not want the whole world to see all the time.

It does not matter how smart or mature a child is, but watch their behavior on social media online. Child who makes mistakes while using media is a must. Therefore, it is necessary to talk to the child and help him learn from these mistakes.

You also need to set a good example for him. Keep in mind that your child is following you to see how they seem to accept their use of electronic devices and how they use them.

You will probably need to continue to advise and advise your child about his or her use of electronic devices and communications as he or she grows up. But by setting house rules – and reviewing them in parallel with a child’s growth and development – you can help ensure their safety during use.

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