The Effects of Excessive Screen Time of Toddlers: Is Your Kid at Risk?

Since the pandemic, the number of hours that kids spend with technology and the internet has increased and many studies showed that it has a great impact on the child’s health. In a warning statement given by British Psychological Society, it is said that too much screen time can lead to harmful effects especially on the developing brain of a toddler. It is estimated in the UK that the average number of hours children spend on screen is 3 hours per day for 3-4 years old, 4 hours for 5-7, and so on and so forth with teenagers and adults.

Too much or excessive screen time is not good, especially for a toddler. However, we cannot blame how technology and the internet entertained and continue entertaining us up to these days. Many parents are also using these tactics to let their child behave and sit in a corner because in fact, the technology would also help moms do their own chores and personal things at home.

What does screen time mean? How do we measure screen time?

The term screen time was widely known in the year 2018 because there have been studies stating that it affects the health, specifically the mental health of an individual.

Screen time is the term used for the time a person spends in the use of technology and the internet including televisions. You measure screen time by calculating the hours of exposure to tablets, phones, computers, television and such. Some parents use a tracking time app to measure their child’s screen time.

How Much Screen Time is Too Much For a Toddler?

In the UK, the earliest age that a child can have a phone is 10 years old. However, toddlers ages 1-3 are already exposed. Parents believe that it helps the child with development because of the educational kids’ videos they can find from online sites. It also helps parents in having time for other chores at home. They let children watch entertaining videos so the child’s attention will be focused on the screen.

Many kids also learned how to tap tablets and phones, and parents will let them play easy kids games. Kids are really entertained because of the entertainment brought by screens.

It is helpful in many ways for both the child and the parents but with excessive screen time, you’ll have to deal with its consequences. There have been a lot of research studies about the negative effects of excessive screen time of children. According to the National Institutes of Health, thinning of the brain is possible for children who spend more than 7 hours of screen time while children who allocate two hours and more of screen time get lower scores on language and thinking tests.

What are the Most Common Effects of Excessive Screen Time for Toddlers?

OBESITY- Children who spend more screen time are prone to be overweight as their physical activity is limited or none.

PROBLEM WITH SLEEPING- A long exposure to gadgets and television with its blue light may cause trouble sleeping especially for toddlers. According to the recommendation of American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) children should not sleep with gadgets or even have screen time before going to bed.

EYE PROBLEM- Toddlers who spend excessive screen time may have poor and bad eyesight at an early age.

POOR SOCIAL SKILLS- Since the screens keep the kids entertained, they are not encouraged to personally and physically talk to others. Instead of playing outside, kids will ought to lay down and watch and play with their gadgets.

CHILD DEVELOPMENT- Children having hours of screen time can experience a hard time to actively participate in school. It may be hard for the kid to be attentive and to do school work without the use of gadgets.

As a Parent What Can You Do to Reduce Your Toddler’s Screen Time Today?

The fact that technology rises means that more people are drawn in having any type of technology as part of their needs. Yes, it definitely helps parents with keeping their child quiet but parents should know that there are consequences of too much or excessive screen time. It is a must to limit screen time even if it is a great help on your part. The effects of excessive screen time is a long term effect that can greatly affect your child’s future.

According to experts, children under 18 months should not have screen time, they are way too young for it. Strictly one-hour a day for two to five years old.

So if you’re kid is now having more than an hour of screen, it’s time to reduce screen time!

WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO DO ABOUT THEIR TODDLER’S SCREEN TIME?

Set time for screen time! If you have to set the alarm, do it.

Reduce screen time by giving them educational toys or letting them do healthy activities that can keep them busy. Here are healthy activities that can keep your children away from gadgets and television.

Spend more quality time with them and help them interact with other kids. Try to get them play in the play ground as a form of physical activity.

Strictly no screen time before bed time. It’s better to read them bed time stories.

Install and monitor what the kids do during screen time. You must not let them watch and play games which are not appropriate for their age.

The ultimate secret to limit screen time of children is to be firm with disciplining them without any violence but a positive attitude and not to give in when they cry and constantly ask for it. Talk to them in the most easiest possible way you can and make them understand its consequences. Limiting screen time for children is one huge step to a healthier future!