Gone were the days where our childhood was filled with memories at the playground playing hopscotch and hide and seek. According to an article published in The Straits Times, a study found that 65% of children started playing with electronic devices before they turned three, which shows how early children these days are being exposed to electronic devices. (1) In today’s digital age, it is not surprising that most of the children spend their childhood at home with their electronic devices. Smartphones and tablets are becoming their new “toys”.
As mentioned in our previous article, it is important to know that technology plays a huge role in education where it helps aid our children’s learning. Using technology for effective learning is no doubt useful. However, screen time should be properly moderated as too much might have some adverse effects on your child.
Here are some of the adverse effects too much screen time can have on your child:
Sleeping is very important for our body to take a break after a long day. Optimal sleep varies with age. For a child, the recommended hours of sleep should be around 8 to 10 hours. Children tend to require extended hours of sleep compared to adults as their bodies are still growing. However, a study has found that the more children play with electronic devices, the lesser they sleep. (2) This may be due to them being addicted to their devices, causing a delay in their sleep. Another reason may be due to the light emitted by the apparatus, which can result in one to feel awake during bedtime. Hence, too much screen time causes sleep deprivation and this can lead to an adverse effect on children’s performance in school as well. A child who is sleep deprived tends to be less focused in class, and hence they do not perform as well compared to the others.
Lack of Social Skills
Too much screen time can also lead to children having a lack of social skills. Such is the case as a child gets too focused on their electronic devices, they tend to block out what is happening around them physically. They also tend to disengage themselves from the conversations around them. Hence, even though they are interacting with their peers via their devices, they are losing face-to-face interactions with people. Face-to-face interactions are essential in helping them develop social skills that are essential in the future. According to a study, those that spend more time with their devices tend to have decreased sensitivity to other people’s emotions. (3)
Too much screen time can also lead to vision problems. It is quite common these days for one to start wearing spectacles at a young age. By staring at the screen for an extended period, it causes excessive strain on their eyes, which increases the risk of them being myopic. Moreover, children tend to be oblivious of eye strains as compared to adults. Hence, it is vital that you carefully monitor their screen time for them.
It is no doubt that technology and electronic devices have become an integral part of our lives today. However, it is important to know that too much screen time may lead to negative effects on our children. Is your child spending too much time on their devices? If they are, it is time to limit their screen time to ensure their healthy relationship with technology.