How much of your day do you spend in front of a screen?

Have you ever thought about how much of your day revolves around looking at a screen? This would be including your computer, iPad or tablet, phone and TV. They are everywhere we look – schools, shops, gas stations, airports, libraries and restaurants.

The debate about screen use for kids (and ourselves) has been raging for years and it often gets heated and polarized. Many feel it has significantly improved education and entertainment and that it is the new normal so they do not want to question the status quo.

The Learning Habit Study on Screen time

One of the best studies on this topic was called the Learning Habit Study (Link here) which included 21,000 participants. It concluded that screen use could have serious negative effects on our kids, specifically:

  • On their learning and academic abilities
    • It was found that after just 30 minutes of screen time a day, children’s grades began a steady drop. After 4 hours/day, a student’s average GPA fell an entire grade.
  • On their social and emotional lives
    • More time on devices led to increased social and emotional volatility and disconnectedness from family.
  • On their sleep
    • It takes an average of 20 minutes longer to fall asleep when children have more screen time.
  • On their ability to pay attention
    • As screen time increased, a child’s focus decreased and grit (ability to perform a strenuous or difficult task without giving up) decreased.
  • On their ability to overcome challenges
  • On their connection to their families

—– And all of these effects where present when the kids were consuming 4 hours or less a day of screen time (which is half the national average at 8 hours per day!).

We know our children are watching.

Take a moment to think about how much time you are spending not present with your family and instead focused on your phone or TV? It is easy for us to get sucked into the screens activity – so without the same will power, you can understand why it would also be hard for your child to remain connected.

Remember for every hour we spend in front of a screen, we are spending one hour less engaged with real people, especially our families.

My challenge for you this month (or year) is to decrease your time in front of a screen. Instead try focusing on increasing your time connecting with the people you love around you. Now I get it, sometimes we need our phone or computer to talk (or facetime) a loved one – and in all honesty, that is what I love the most about technology.

Where in your day could you decrease or limit your screen time? Ready, set, go!

Dr. Sarah

 

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