Do Kids Need to Digitally Detox?
Technology is an amazing tool – one that makes our lives easier and allows new learning opportunities. But, too much time spent using technology can negate the positive. For example, as more people spend a significant amount of their day staring at screens, they forget how to live without it. When someone reaches the point of dependence on their digital devices, they need a digital detox.
Unfortunately, this may be an issue in your own home. According to recent studies by Common Sense Media, “Since 2013, the amount of time young kids spend on mobile devices has tripled from 15 minutes a day in 2013 to 48 minutes a day in 2017.” While this number may not sound alarming, keep in mind that it is only the amount of time on mobile devices. When you include all other digital screens, kids are spending 8-10 hours a day looking at digital screens, and teenagers are spending around 11 hours a day on electronic devices.
What is Screen Addiction?
Screen addiction is a real issue. While Chinese doctors are seeing patients for screen addiction, American parents are just now beginning to recognize the potential problem. However, it is important to recognize that just because your child spends a significant amount of time looking at screens, it does not mean he or she is addicted.
If your child does seem dependent on technology, such as going through withdrawal when the smartphone is taken away, then you should be concerned. Additionally, if you notice your child experiences anxiety, mood changes, or is short-tempered when it comes to the device, then there may be a problem.
Screen Time is Bad for Your Overall Health
Just like parents use to warn their children from sitting too close to the television or from watching television all day long, simply viewing a different screen does not negate the reasons these rules were first in place.
For instance, too much screen time can cause eye-straining, neck pain, and back pain. Additionally, there does appear to be a correlation between obesity and screen time, possibly because kids are spending more time sitting and viewing screens rather than being physically active.
Set Clear Screen Time Rules
As a parent, it is important to recognize that technology is here to stay, and there are many benefits. But, you must also recognize that too much technology is harmful. Therefore, your family to have a clear balance and define rules when it comes to screen time. For example, you may want to establish certain times when screens are not allowed, such as dinner, or an hour before bedtime.
Ultimately, as the parent, you can decide if you think your child has reached the point of screen addiction and needs a complete digital detox or if you would like to have a digital detox simply to reset your family’s screen time clock.