Pediatricians say excessive screen time has been linked with violence, cyber-bullying, school woes, obesity, lack of sleep and a host of other problems. I would say that almost every parent would be guilty of their child(ren) being on a screen for more than two hours per day (be it TV, computer, gaming console, mobile device). I know I am guilty of this, very guilty. Trying to police their time online creates all sorts of arguments in our household.
There’s a research article from BioMed Central which states almost fifty percent of 8 year old and eighty percent of 16 year old exceeded the recommended hours per day. This was conducted with 1373 males and 1247 females aged 8 – 16 from 25 Australian government and non-government primary and secondary schools.
The research article advises that in this technological age, the two hour screen limit may not be as feasible as it once was with the amount of online media, social networking, use of mobile phones and computers. They now are looking into research what effects it has on the mental, social and physical health impacts of these behaviors, and creating evidence based guidelines.
The understanding of less than two hours per day focused on entertainment only (mainly television). However the concerns are that children these days are breaking the two hours on multiple occasions, and averaging over 10 hours per day “plugged in” according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2010.
These are some of the warning signs that children may be spending too much time online.
- Defensive about time spent online
- Failed attempts to control behavior, including aggressive behavior
- Sacrifices needed hours of sleep to spend time online
- Becomes agitated or angry when not online or online time is interrupted
- Checks messages compulsively throughout the day
- Disobeys time limits that have been set for Internet usage
- Loses interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online access
What are your thoughts on this topic?