One of the effects of digital age is the exposure to all kind information and contents. Both wrong and appropriate contents are being forced on people through internet, TV programs, age rated and explicit contents in videos and movies etc. As the adult, we could easily control what we consume and how we consume them to prevent the adverse effect. But the kids are vulnerable to separate inappropriate contents from educative and good contents on the screen. It’s the responsibility of the parent to protect and prevent their kids from being exposed to inappropriate contents on the screen.
Moreover, it’s important to know that screen time applies to more than just the time spends to watch TV programs. It’s encompassed all access and usage of digital devices and gadget including Smartphone, tablets, TV, laptop etc. Screen time includes watching TV programs, playing videos games, chatting on social media etc. It involves time spend on consuming digital information, engaging in interaction and sharing of information.
Parents are often in a dilemma to know the right amount of time to allow kids spend on screen. This makes them ask a question about: How much screen time is okay for my kid(s)? Answering the question is subjected to personal interpretation and social backgrounds. Some parents may recommend XYZ time, while other parents will reject the recommendation and approve ABC time. To answer this question, it’s essential to recourse to expert opinion. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, kids between age 2-5 should not spend more than an hour time on the screen of any kind (laptop, tablets, smartphone, TV etc.). AAP recommends zero screen time for kids below 18 months.
As parents, it’s imperative to protect our kids from getting exposed to inappropriate contents on the screen. Although many parents have cited the usefulness of digital devices on education and learning, it’s vital to ensure regulation and control how kids use devices and gadgets. Spending a lot of time on screen by kids can lead to depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that kids who spend more than on screen are likely to experience depression and emotional disorder as the kid spend less time with people, exposed to all kind of cyberbully, child abuse, especially on the internet, academic underperformance and so on.
Although it’s not easy to monitor kids’ activities on the screen, especially on devices and gadget, parents can make use of software to control the kind of websites kids visit, the videos they view and the type of application they install on their smartphone, tablet, and laptop.
Parents also need to be the role models to their kids on time spend on the screen. Parent too need to reduce the time spend on social media, watching TV or playing games. Yes. Some parents do spend a lot of time play games either on their phones or other devices. Any form of addiction to digital devices and gadget needs to be addressed. Parents need to spend less time on screen and be cautious with the kind of TV programs they watch and their activities on the internet when kids are with them.
Finally, Parent should not only preoccupy by the right amount of time for their kid to spend on the screen; they should ensure that kids are occupied by meaningful activities during the time they are not allowed to spend on screen. Activities like reading, engaging in physical activities, and interaction with friends and so on.