Screen Time Makes My Kids Crazy. Seriously.
The Science of Blue Light ScreensDid you know that American children being exposed to AN AVERAGE of SEVEN HOURS of screen time a day? I am not kidding. (And why would I kid? I’ve had plenty of ‘movie days’ with my tribe.) For decades the American Academy of Pediatrics has pushed for children to have less screen time, but the hours have only increased. There is a large problem with children being able to recognize true (real life) human emotions when they spend time in front of a screen. Last year, Psychology Today reported that blue light screen time is directly linked to children be chronically irritable, depressed, prone to rages, and are constantly agitated and exhausted. While these kids are easily diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and are offered medication, it could be directly linked to their time in front of screens – TV’s, Pads, and phones. Research shows that: Screen time induces stress reactions. Screen time disrupts sleep and desynchronizes the body clock (link is external) Screen time desensitizes the brain’s reward system. Screen time overloads the sensory system (link is external), fractures attention (link is external), and depletes mental reserves Screen-time reduces physical activity levels and exposure to “green time” (Outside nature play) Screen time can effect cognitive development. Read more at Psychology Today. Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Medicine, says that young children can be addicted and over-exposed to screens and this can unintentionally cause permanent damage to their still-developing brains. If introduced and constantly exposed to too much screen time at a young age, Dr. Sigman says, that the screens are “the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed.”
What am I going to do? What can you do?Harvard has produced a ‘cheat sheet’ if you will; a pamphlet that gives you all the tools to help limit your children’s screen time. There are great ideas in it; a few that I will be utilizing:
- Music on in the background from morning until night.
- Technology will be used for guided meditation and exercise programs for the kids.
- There will never be a TV in any of our bedrooms.
- Parental controls for the iPads to automatically shut it down after a period of time.
- TV Timer Bob for the TV’s sounds like a great investment.