We are now in the digital age. We cannot deny how being “on the screen” can help our kids when it comes to development, education, communication, and entertainment. However, too much screen time and unmonitored usage is not good for our kids. We are faced with the challenge of managing children’s screen time in terms of duration and the activities they do with their gadgets.
In this post, we would like to share with you the negative effects of unmonitored gadget usage and how managing children’s screen time can be made possible with the help of some apps and other things you can do at home to avoid excessive use of gadgets.
Table of contents
- Negative effects of unmanaged screen time
- Apps that help manage children’s screen time
- Other tips to help avoid excessive gadget use
Negative effects of unmanaged screen time
Too much gadget use can have adverse effects on children. One paper published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety states that gadgets can negatively impact children causing the following:
- delays in speech or language;
- attention deficits (ADHD);
- learning problems (cognitive delays and impaired learning);
- childhood depression; and
- bad impact on character.
There is also a tendency for kids to become overweight as they replace physical activity with gadget use. Too much time on screens may also cause seizures and vision problems.
Finally, kids can become addicted to gadgets that they develop problems in developing real-life practical skills, problems on focusing with tasks, problems with time management; and problems with eating habits.
Apps that help manage children’s screen time
We all have work to do, chores to finish, and other things to attend to. Because we are so busy, we may forget to find time to limit our kids’ gadget use and monitor their activities on the Internet . The good thing is that there are actually some apps developed to help us parents in managing children’s screen time. Here are some of them:
Other tips to help avoid excessive gadget use
While the gadget apps can help us limit the children’s use of gadgets and monitor their activities, we can drastically help lessen their screen time and avoid gadget addiction with the following tips.
- Set schedules for different activities, including gadget time, TV time, study time, play time, bed time, and other activities.
- Make a clear “no-gadget” rule on certain activities and certain areas of the house, such during mealtimes, after dinner, or in places like the dining table or the play room.
- Encourage children to play with siblings and friends by going outside rather than watching movies or playing online games.
- Spend time with your children by doing meaningful activities they will cherish forever, such as cooking, baking, playing board games, playing-pretend, reading, picnics, trips to parks, swimming, and outings.
- Get them to help you with age-appropriate household chores.
- Introduce and encourage them to do other activities, such as painting; playing blocks, legos, or dolls; doing sports; and playing musical instruments, which could potentially become new hobbies.
- If you can, get your children a pet they can play with and take care of.
- Don’t let the gadgets serve as your children’s babysitters.
- Set a good example by following the same rules (except during emergencies, of course).
- Acknowledge your children’s efforts by praising them and occasionally rewarding them when they abide by the rules.
We know how gadgets can make our lives very convenient, but when our kids’ usage becomes too much and are unmonitored, it can be very harmful to them and their development. We hope the suggested apps and tips will help you in managing children’s screen time. Not only will these tips lessen gadget use, but also help develop other skills and values that gadgets cannot offer, like friendship, empathy, kindness, and many other social skills.