Parenting: How to decrease screen time in Children

Nowadays, parenting is turning to be a difficult task, especially when it to deal with habit of overusing gadgets in children. It is seen in various reports across the globe that more the time spent on using electronic visual gadgets, more are chances of developing depression. Whereas those playing with friends, doing gossips among peer group children decreases the chances of developing depression, anxiety etc. Pediatrician always recommend parents to limit the screen time on electronic gadgets.

Alarming points of overusing electronic gadgets:-

1 when child gets irritated and feeling bored on not getting mobile phones, i-pads etc.

2 starts shouting when to take back the mobile or ipads and asks to increase the screen time

3 when child is less inclined to do class work and home work

4 when he talks about gadgets and during outing in malls/shops always asks for gadgets.

How to tackle such situation:

1 try to spend more time with children

2 while eating avoid using mobile phones

3 limit your own screen time while using social media apps.

4 during family trips use mobile only for phone call and clicking pictures/videos

Recommended screen time by the American Academy of Pediatrics:-

  • Age <2yrs : No screen time
  • Age 2-12 years: 1hr per day
  • Age teen and adolescent: 2hrs per day

Try to discuss about latest technology regarding gadgets with your kids. The more you talk the more you will know about how they are using it. Later on you can make them understand about ifs and buts, pros and cons of over screen time using these gadgets. Try to discuss both good and bad about gadgets uses.

Whenever gadgets are not in use, keep them away either in store room or charging area, so that those will not distract your child attention. Especially the bedroom of your child should be gadget free and screening just before sleeping should be avoided.

There are many published studies showing the negative effect of screen time and its relation to anxiety, behavior disorder etc. among children (both kids and teens)

If children are spending a lot of time on screen, which includes watching tv, ipads or mobile phones, you should not directly jump right to the permissible one to two hours per day, instead start decreasing or cutting the screen time gradually, which will be more practical approach. Child should be engaged in talking face to face daily with parents.

There is always a fear of cyberbullying in kids who spent lot of time on gadgets, so better make their access password protected. There is wide variety of entertainment apps/portals, games, content which are not suitable for particular age, so better advice your child not to access pop hyperlinks.

Ultimately physical game should replace online/gadget friendly games like playing outside, reading a book, or even hanging outside with friends just for gossiping.

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