One day while we were visiting the local Carl’s Jr. my 5-year-old son and I were at the outdoor playground. He was having a blast going in and out of the bubble tubes and sliding down the slide, when about 10 minutes had past, he asked if he could use my phone because he was bored. I had told him to try using his imagination and pretend he was exploring a mystic cave or flying in an alien spacecraft. He responded back by telling me he did not know how to use his imagination. Have people ever thought that excessive screen time could be impairing their children? Could it be setting them up for a life of addiction to digital devices before they are even faced with peer pressure from their friends? Psychotherapist Amy Morin observes that “without adult, guidance most of our children will spend most of their waking hours behind a screen” (Morin 1). Introducing to children at an early age about time management with their screens, communication between parents, or guardian to insure ground rules for limits on screen time are met and practiced, also setting up other activities for them to do while they are home will help their children avoid the negative effects of excessive screen time.
There is much information about excessive screen time and the damaging effects to children’s health and well-being that it is hard to know what is correct and what is not. Before there where iPhones, Androids, tablets, and computers, there was the good old fashion boob tube, I remember being told by my parents “don’t sit to close or you will go blind” and “ don’t watch too much TV or it will rot your brain.” There have been several screen time issues that have come up in today’s digital world such as addiction due to excessive screen use. What society needs to do is ask what is excessive, and how do people determine what is too much. Occupational therapist Krista Huerta says, “excessive is when it takes over the everyday activities that kids should be engaged in, like playing, talking with other kids, reading, coloring, spending time with family, playing on playground equipment” (Wegner 152). Excessive use of screens could potentially lead to a multitude of health problems including but not limited to lack of social skills, “text neck” and addiction to screen devices. Trina Hinkley states in her research journal that, “social skills are intrinsic to children’s psychosocial well-being. Specifically, young children’s social skills are an important precursor in their development of school readiness.” (Hinkley 2). Orthopedic surgeon of 20 years Dr. Kamshad explains “while on handheld devices children stooped-shoulders, chin-forward posture known as “text neck,” can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on the spine, leading to chronic neck and lower back pain” (Kragen 1). Excessive screen time I believe is the leading problem to digital device addiction. Mariano Choliz list in his journal “Mobile Phone Addiction” that, “some of the most characteristics symptoms of dependence were the following: (a) excessive use: (b) problem with parents associated with excessive use: (c) interference with other school or personal activities: (d) gradual increase in mobile phone use to obtain the same level of satisfaction: e) emotional alterations when phone is impeded.” He also states that “the uncontrolled, inappropriate or excessive use of screen devices can give rise to social, behavioral and affective problems” (Choliz 373).
Coming up with a clear-cut solution might seem hopeless, but all is not lost. The America Academy of Pediatrics recommends ways to limiting screen time and creating a family media plan which is available on their web site (Children and Media Tips). Setting time limits is an excellent way to lower the amount of time your child will spend on their digital devices. Using a timer or an app that sets limits on screen time is a good choice. Martin Kutscher, MD writes in his book “Try to create a positive attitude towards the timer. It is not to be used for punishment; rather, to announce that it is time to move on to the next activity” (Kutscher and Rosin 41). Parents need to be a good role model for their children. Roberta Ashby, a pediatrician with Aurora Health Centers says “Parents who want to limit screen time need to remember that it’s important to model screen-free behavior themselves. As in most things with parenting, parents should lead by example” (Wegner 152). Once these two key points are set, now it is time to introduce most importantly what I believe to be a solution worth trying. Dr. Amy Morin suggest “adding other activities into your child’s daily routine that involve the whole family such as reading books, coloring and playing board games, also encourage outdoor physical activities like going for short walks, playing tag, chores, and playing catch” (Morin 3). This will help enforce time away from screens and be beneficial for children physically and socially.
Consider the benefits of limiting screen time through other activities that do not involve digital devices. Children have less chance of becoming addicted to their digital devices and are more likely to form good habits that will benefit them. Involving one’s shelf in their activities will form stronger bonds and that child will have a better relationship with their parents and their siblings. In Hatice Kara’s current study she finds that “screen free week resulted in families recognizing the importance of family-child interaction, that their children are happier when they spend time with them” (Kara 100).
According to the negative hype surrounding digital devices “parents are panicked and wonder if they should pull the plug on their child’s devices” (Coghlan 27), but could completely limiting children from technology be damaging to their education? In “Digital Kids by Martin Kutscher, MD he agrees that “there are myriad of unbelievable benefits that we can derive from digital technology. It’s fun, provides limitless news, intellectual thought, art, entertainment, educational apps, and instant communication allowing people to work together around the globe” (Kutscher and Rosin 58). The use of digital devices has a vast amount of benefits that parents would not want their children to miss out on. Digital devices are the new learning tool and the more acquainted our children are with them the better off they will be.
Inconclusion as stated in Hinkley’s journal “research has shown that parents are largely unconcerned about their children’s physical activity and screen time behaviors and report multiple reasons to maintain current behaviors” (Hinkley 9). For those parents who are concern and that are worried about their children’s digital device addiction, excessive scree time seems to be a hot topic amongst them. Parents are questioning about how much time should young children be aloud each day on their digital devices and what can be done as a parent to ensure that their child’s screen time does not have any damaging effects to their health? Limiting time that your child spends on their digital devices, ensure that parents are on the same page about being good role models, and most important implementing other activities that do not involve digital screens is a good start on the right path for happy, healthier children.
American Academy of Pediatrics. “Children and Media Tips from American Academy of Pediatrics” May 20, 2018. Accessed June 19, 2019
Chang, Fong-Ching, et al. “Computer/Mobile Device Screen Time of Children and Their Eye Care Behavior: The Roles of Risk Perception and Parenting.” Cyber Psychology, Behavior & Social Networking, vol. 21, no. 3, Mar. 2018, pp. 179–186. This study compared the use of computer and mobile devices with eye care behavior of children and examined the roles of risk perception and parental practices. Studies have shown that excessive screen time has a negative impact on ocular health. Studies as such can be used to show that problems can arise with the over usage of screens in young children, which I will introduce in my proposal. This study was funded by a research grant from the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr. Fong-Ching Chang is from the Department of Health Promotion and Health Education which leave to believe that this a reliable source of information.
Choliz, Mariano. “Mobile Phone Addiction: A Point of Issue.” Addiction, vol. 105, no. 2, Feb. 2010, pp. 373–374
Coghlan, Andy. “Can Too Much Screen Time Harm Children?” New Scientist, vol. 240, no. 3198, Oct. 2018, p. 27
Hinkley, Trina, et al. “Cross Sectional Associations of Screen Time and Outdoor Play with Social Skills in Preschool Children.” PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 1–15. Kara, Hatice Gözde Ertürk. “A Case Study on Reducing Children’s Screen Time: The Project of Screen Free Week.” World Journal of Education, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 100–110. This was a case study aimed at reducing children’s screen time. The goal was to direct children to alternate activities within a week period by applying a week without digital screens. Alternative means to entertain children and ideas to evolve the development of family-child interaction is an essential part of my paper. Incorporating such ideas will help persuade the reader evaluate their decision on how to manage screen time. The was a peered reviewed journal article.
Kamenetz, Anya. The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. Perseus Books Cambridge, MA, USA ©2018. An evidence based, non-panic guide to the world of kids and their screens and what to do about it. The Author takes a refreshing practical look at the subject and has done hundreds of surveys of parents on their practices and ideas. Digital parenting and ways to go about it correctly is the meat and potatoes of my analysis. Negativities of my solutions will come from this parental guide such the do’s and the don’ts. Anya Kamenetz is an American author on several books about education and lead education blogger at NPR. Her alma mater was Yale college and she has several notable works including “The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing”. I believe that this author work is worth noting and a good source for my paper.
Kragen, Pam. “Family Aims to End ‘Text Neck’ in Kids.” San Diego Union-Tribune, (CA), 20 Nov. 2015.
Kutscher, Martin L., and Natalie Rosin. Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time, and Why It Matters. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. EBSCOhost. A parental guide for today’s families, that struggle with excessive digital media usage. This book contains handy information to help understand and prevent excessive internet use that negatively impacts family life, education, behavior and even physical health. Key ideas written will be integrated into my proposal to support my beliefs that screen time should be used in moderation, Martin L. Kutscher, MD take us into an age of digital families through his own experiences with keen analysis of neurological, psychological and educational research.
Morin, Amy. “10 Strategies to Limit Your Teen’s Screen Time” January 06, 2019. http://www.verywellfamily.com/strategies-limit-your-teens-screen-time-2608915. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Sharkins, Kimberly, et al. “Preschool Children’s Exposure to Media, Technology, and Screen Time: Perspectives of Caregivers from Three Early Childcare Settings.” Early Childhood Education Journal, vol. 44, no. 5, Sept. 2016, pp. 437–444. A look at young children being increasingly exposed to MeTS at home and in schools. This study viewed opinions of parents and teachers of preschool aged children from three diverse centers and examined Media technology and screen time usage across the varying centers and sociodemographic strata. Recommendations explored in this study will give me guidance in what to introduce as solutions in my paper by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of today’s technology. Kimberly Sharkins has a Ph. D. and is the Director of Early Learning at Montgomery Public School District. Her skills and expertise include professional development, early childhood education, and social emotional development. This study was posted as a scholarly journal convincing me that this a reliable source.
Wegner, Amanda N. “Excessive: How Screen Time Can Impact a Child’s Development.” At the Lake, Summer 2018, p. 152.