The Potential Dangers of Too Much Screen Time

By Dr. Mitch Parker

Outside of school and homework, 8 to 12-year-old children today use screens more than 4 hours a day, while 13 to 18-year-olds use screens for more than 7 hours a day. That is a long time!  

 

Research is beginning to suggest that 8 to 11-year-old children who exceed screen time recommendations score lower on cognitive tests and that the combination of extended screen time, too little sleep, and lack of physical activity may be associated with negative mental health outcomes. In younger children, the more time they spend on screens, the less likely are they to read books. It is also possible that children who spend hours on the screen lose or do not develop social skills necessary for in-person interaction.

 

While it is difficult to find activities to engage children who are home for health and safety reasons during the pandemic, it is important for you as parents to limit the number of hours children are engaged in screen activities.

 

Here are some ideas to limit your children's daily screen time:

 

  • Find other fun hobbies for them to do, like reading or art.

  • Get involved in family activities.

  • Spend time outside doing active physical activities, like playing sports or walking the dog.

  • Carefully monitor what your children are watching.

  • Watch some shows or movies with your children and use breaks to encourage conversations.

  • Set clear time limits as to when electronic devices must be put away.

  • Do not let your children take electronics to bed with them, or at least make sure screens are turned off at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

 

If you think your children are “addicted” to their screens, perhaps it is time to talk with a medical or mental health professional. To get started, call us at (248) 338-1700 or fill out the contact form on our home page.