Every kid loves their electronics. Video games, YouTube, scrolling on social media, watching Netflix, you name it. If it involves a screen, most kids love it. However, prolonged screen time could present some challenges for kids. How much screen time is appropriate for children, and what can you do to convince your kids to put the devices down and step outside?
Screens themselves aren’t entirely bad for kids, but constant screen use can lead to eye strain. It’s pivotal for good eye health (and good mental health!) to get up, get outside, and move every day. This goes double for developing kids. They need plenty of exercise and intellectual stimulation to develop properly.
This isn’t to say kids should never look at a smartphone or a TV screen. However, it does mean you need to be aware of how much time they’re spending with these devices.
The question of how long kids should be spending on their devices varies based on the child’s age and their parents’ preference. However, most experts agree that somewhere between two and four hours of screen time is appropriate for kids. This could be slightly shifted if your children are enrolled in distance learning or are using their devices daily for educational purposes.
Ideally, your kids should be spending at least some of the time on their devices with content that is enriching. Educational content, intellectually stimulating games, or just talking to friends and family are all a bit different than scrolling through social media endlessly or watching short-form, humorous videos.
If your kids spend all day on their laptops or tablets for school, try to heavily encourage them to pursue non-screen-related activities when they’re done with schoolwork. Often, you can suggest hobbies that take kids outside or give them activities that get their eyes off of screens.
Try to convince your kids to head out by signing them up for clubs or sports teams. This can be a great way for them to make friends while they get out and move! This is a two-for-one, as it’s good for their emotional development and for their physical well-being.
Studies show that kids who have a balanced daily schedule between playing outside with friends and spending time with various devices tend to be happier and perform better in school. Take steps to help your kids succeed by setting them up to develop in the most balanced way!