It’s easy to just hand your little one a phone or a tablet to accompany them during this stay-home period, but it’s not so easy to handle the repercussions that may come afterward – think device dependency, screen addiction, and even myopia.
When there’s nothing but screens.
An episode or a movie for a day is no big deal. But multiply that by a whole season of a show or a movie marathon to keep your kids occupied throughout the day and that turns into a big deal.
For us parents working from home, we’re all probably guilty of handing our children the tablet to keep them occupied and silent while we focus on our work at hand. Once we realised the wonderful magic the screen had in keeping our children calm and quiet, the more we used it. With the help of the screen occupying our children’s time, we’re better able to concentrate with laser-like focus on our work. Go technology!
Even for our school-aged children whose lessons have migrated online, it’s still important to take note of the time their spending on the screen throughout the day. Are they staring at their computer screens for every minute of the day? Are they taking adequate eye breaks in between lessons?
Yes, technology has been a huge help tiding us over during our time indoors, but as the saying goes, “too much of a good thing can be bad”. It’s important to moderate our children’s screen time amidst ongoing stay-home measures. Spending too much time on the screen can lead to the following consequences:
1. Device dependency
Our habits become our daily routines. If it’s a habit for you to hand your little one the screen every time he/she starts to get restless, it’ll become a habit for your child to depend on the screen. These habits silently snowball into daily routines that your child will get used to. What was once a tool to just give you and your child a moment of peace, will become a crutch for your little one to pass his/her time, to communicate, to find information, etc. The heavier their screen use, the more dependent your little one will be on his/her devices.
2. Screen addiction
Our school-aged children are going to find the screens extremely to be helpful in connecting them with their friends and helping them with their homework. With all these conveniences packed into one screen, what reason would they have to leave the screen? But when it’s time to take the screen away, you might find your child throwing a tantrum, screaming or crying. They might feel strong feelings of resentment and could withdraw from the family. Screen addiction could also lead to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
Screen time and excessive near work activity are risk factors associated with myopia. Device usage is increasing exponentially as a result of work from home measures and online learning. If your children are constantly using their devices throughout the day, their eyes will constantly be under the weight of strain and stress. Resultantly, this could lead to the progression of myopia, especially in our little ones whose vision hasn’t fully developed.
To prevent the above repercussions from happening, it’s important that we, as parents, remind our children to take device breaks every 30 minutes. These breaks don’t necessarily have to last very long, just 5-10 minutes will do. Just closing their eyes for a little while or simply talking to them without the screen in the way will help them take a break from the screens every once in awhile.
Go device-free when you can!
The best way to prevent your child from the above repercussions, is to go screen-free! There are a bunch of amazing screen-free activities for your child to enjoy and for you to join in the fun as well. If your child has lessons online, be sure to switch off all devices after their lessons have ended and spend some well-deserved quality time. It could be as simple as cooking a meal together, playing board games as a family, or even working out together. The choices are endless.
Our devices are here to stay and they’re extremely helpful in entertaining us and making our lives more efficient. However, it’s important to take some time off away from the screens and disconnect to connect with the people around us.