Screen Time Makes My Kids Crazy. Seriously.
Once upon a time, I had a baby – a single baby. I also thought I would do everything perfect. I vowed to never let the TV babysit my child; hell, I vowed she wouldn’t watch TV until after 2 years old. Then I became pregnant with baby #2. My first was 15 months old. It was a slippery slope, folks. Let’s fast forward 6 years and 2 more babies – that’s right, four babies total. We have two large ‘Smart’ TV’s, 3 iPads, LeapPads, iPhones, and countless other technologically advanced pieces of crap in our home. They are babysitters, educational tools, road trip companions, boredom busters… the list goes on. My 2 year old can swipe a screen in embarrassing speed. I have noticed the crumbling effect these devices have on our daily lives though. Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to lock them away – a mother needs a sanity break each day, and these ‘things’ provide just that. Well, kind of… You’ll see what I mean in a minute.
If any type of blue light device is turned on, my boys become monsters. Not right away, and not as they are blinded by the crap that is being displayed in front of them, but once the device has been shut off or physically pried from their fingertips. That is the moment shit hits the fan. Our day goes downhill quickly. It’s as if these screens switch something in the brain, causing my boys (and occasionally my daughter) to lose themselves. They are cranky, easily disgruntled, quick to argue or complain, extremely emotional, and all around different than before being exposed to the screens. I know I am not alone on this one.
While the screens make for a great babysitter
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.
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.