According to the CDC, children ages eight to eighteen spend between six and nine hours per day in front of screens. This is no longer a new trend. This is the new way children live. These screens and the content they display are the dominant influencers of society. Mothers should limit the time children spend eyeballing these addictive electronic devices to reasonable and healthy levels. If we haven’t done this yet, we can start right now. If not now, when?
American entrepreneur, Dr. Randy Kulman, wrote, “We know that kids who play video games and use technology for an hour a day are actually psychologically healthier than kids who spend three or more hours a day with video games and also psychologically healthier than kids who don’t spend any time at all.” Electronic devices instantly grant access to any subject, condensing all of civilization within pixels. Clicking across websites, we can traverse far and wide across millennia, with a sense of control unparalleled by more conventional activities. Relative to a time before electronic devices, the world is at our fingertips.
As powerful as electronic devices are, addiction to them impedes us from living our actual lives. According to DataReportal, the average adult spends 7 (YES, SEVEN) hours looking at a screen every day. That’s more time than most of us sleep. Apps, games, and social networks have a complete stranglehold over our lives. We, as an entire society, are addicted.
Mothers should have a plan to ensure our children engage the world in meaningful ways. American Entrepreneur, Alan Brown, wrote, “Whether you are a parent or not, carving out time to turn off your devices, to disconnect from the wired world and engage with the real people who are all around you, is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the people you love.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following limits:
- No screen time for children under 2 (except video chatting)
- One hour per day for toddlers and preschoolers
- Two hours per day for teens and adults (homework withstanding)
As we set and enforce daily limits, remember the therapeutic effects of eye contact, physical touch, and exercise. Studies correlate excessive screen time with anxiety, depression, obesity, sleep disorders, and the deteriorated quality of interpersonal relationships. Fathers are responsible for helping our family break free from screen time addiction. One cool resource is Habyts, whose founder Cynthia Crossley, wrote, “It’s not just about limiting screen time; it’s about teaching kids to develop good habits in real life as well as managing their screen time.”
While the solution is not complicated, it does require self-discipline, fortitude, and consistency. Here are a few useful ideas… When not in use, physically put electronic devices away or at an unmonitored charging station so they’re not attracting our attention. Assign phone-free zones to family meal areas and bedrooms. Commit to reading ten pages of a book every day. Commit to daily exercise. Explore and discuss the many needs of the body that cannot be met in the digital world. Ask children, “What does your body need that makes you feel good that you can’t do with your phone?”
As much power as we receive from electronic devices, isn’t it time for the people of our world to break free from the digital chains of bondage. Parents and children are only slaves to these devices through our own complicity. Rather than letting screens control us, shouldn’t we control them?
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
—Proverbs 25:28 ESV
Polly visits her grandparent’s farm and spends all her time on her tablet instead of enjoying the farm animals and playing with her cousins. A chat with her grandfather teaches her that, though screen time can be good, it can keep her from better things.
Dive into the sociological, psychological, cultural, and economic factors involved in the global tech epidemic with one major goal: to explore the effect all of our wonderful shiny new technology is having on kids. Glow Kids also includes an opt-out letter and a “quiz” for parents.
Between Zoom meetings, online classes, social media, gaming, and binge-watching TV series, humans now spend most of their free time submerged in screen life—and that’s taking a toll on real life. This book is a rescue plan for parents, adults, teachers, and ministers who want to help others (or themselves) achieve screen-life/real-life balance.
This is a must read for children, parents and teachers to teach kids the proper way break away from technology and to live in the real world.
The Internet can be a scary, dangerous place especially for children. This book shows parents how to help digital kids navigate this environment.
Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist. By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.