As a growing child in the largest West African city, I didn’t have a limit to screen time (we didn’t have electricity 27/7 by the way). I recall having long hours in the evening watching K club on galaxy television watching tales by moonlight on weekends and several other programs.
I could sing different TV commercial songs even when I wasn’t listening. It was excellent even though there were no educational apps as nobody even had cool gadgets at the time except those who possessed landlines phones.
This is the story of thousands of other kids from the 90’s and even some children from the early year 2000s but times have changed, and technology has taken over the world.
These days, adults have to decide on how much screen time to allow their children once they start taking on the responsibility of parenting. While there are lots of benefits to letting your children make use of educational applications and watch TV programs for one reason or another, a lot of parents feel that restriction matters if you want your children to grow up to become people who can balance virtual life with real life.
The reason why lots of parents allow their children watch TV and engaged in different screen activities at a very young age is that they could use the time to catch some rest, the need for uninterrupted work time, and the desire to have some quiet time after the hustle and bustle of the day.
Are your kids watching too much TV?
With the current ubiquitousness of technology, it is difficult to say how much is too much for your kids. There is the urge to allow them to sit in front of the screen and have as much fun as possible watching their favourite programs but then there is the thought of the evils that people talk about that comes with allowing your children watch too much TV.
And sometimes you just want them to enjoy nature like you did when you were little, but realising that technology is not leaving the surface of the earth anytime soon leaves you wondering whether or not you’re ruining your children’s childhood.
The damage screens can do to your kids
If you think that screen time has a negative effect on your kid’s creativity and affect their brains in some not so cool ways, well some scientific pieces of evidence back that up. According to Rudolf Steiner and other psychologists, your child’s first seven years in life are very important as this is the stage where your child learns and developed his brain through engaging in physical activities.
So if you have been wondering why Waldorf schools ensure to restrict the amount of media exposure their students get during their early years the theory above explains it. Waldorf schools emphasizes on hands-on plays rather than virtual activities to help their students become more creative.
Some other studies have revealed that excessive screen time has a connection with children having learning difficulties and developmental challenges. It is believed that even though watching a moving screen is entertaining, it is as well hypnotic and slows the development of a child’s neural pathways.
This can lead to sleep disorders and attention deficit especially in kids younger than three years of age. Although as of now there is no specific evidence to prove that screen time causes ADHD there is, however, a possibility of it aggravating symptoms.
Finally, according to a lot of parents and teachers, children of this century are unable to engage in proper interaction with their peers in a non-structured environment. They cannot run around playing like they are expected to in the natural world because they are used to staying in front of the screen.
There is every possibility that this lifestyle would have a negative effect on them later in life as they are unable to protect themselves against little dangers and appreciate the wonders of nature because there is a disconnect between the human and nature itself.
So why do parents allow screens and educational apps for kids?
Even though parents are aware of the earlier mentioned reasons why it’s not so cool to allow the kids too much access to TV screens and educational applications on your gadgets, some other reasons are arguably laudable why these same parents allow their children spend some time in front of the screens.
1. parents get the much-needed downtime
Some people have argued that so much screen time for children causes childhood obesity and there is a lot of fact in that statement, but that isn’t a reason why parents with underweight kids let them stay glued to the TV.
Then there is the belief that children need to focus on the screens so they can understand and fit into the 21st-century pop culture, but this is not one of the reasons why some parents allow their children watch TV. The greatest benefit parents get form allowing their children watch TV is the much needed down time together.
It could be a few hours bonding as a couple as parents watch a sitcom together or just some time talking about their experiences at work and a host of other things without being interrupted by the children. Besides, in the world where everybody has to go up and about trying to get their act together and put food on the table for their families, some time to let your brain relax is really not too much to ask.
2. We agree technology is pretty cool
Let’s be candid, there is so much awesome things the gadgets of these days can do. Seeing kids operate these devices, playing games, and surfing the web at a very young age leaves parents in awe of how intelligent their kids can be (which is almost contradicting the part where science proves that too much screen time impairs the mental development of a child during the first few years of their life).
Parents use their phones, laptops, and iPads to help them handle plenty of difficult tasks from the comfort of their homes. And as we know, children do what they see rather than what they are told. Telling your child not to operate a gadget when they see you use similar devices and their pairs have these same gadgets in the child-friendly versions will not exactly work.
Hundreds of schools around the world are going digital there is no way all children can escape this world of technological advancement, but there is a way you can strike a balance between reality and the world inside of the screens.
Reduce your child’s TV viewing time to 3 hours maximum daily and make sure to control the activities they are allowed to view. When it comes to engaging them in the use of mobile applications, it’s a win-win situation because there are lots of educational apps that help your children learn spellings do maths and a whole host of other things, so learning becomes fun for them.
Try to strike a balance take your children out to parks, take them to zoos, show them the wonders of nature, and let them visit beaches and play with sand and buckets. Stay out with them sometimes and let them watch the stars, get them gifts like binoculars and other things that are connected to nature. That’s way the kids can balance their play activities.