How Too Much Screen Time Can Hurt Your Kids

“No screen time at all.”

“A little screen time is okay.”

“Monitor your kids’ screen time.”

As parents we’ve heard it all as technology tries to become our children’s BFF from birth.

Now, a look at how screen time is affecting kids in China could have American parents thinking twice about screen time for kids. More and more young people in China are constantly plugged in. This has doctors so worried that they are considering this technology overload a clinical disorder. There are now rehab centers set up in China so kids can “detox” from all their screen time.

There are concerns that too much screen time takes away from any social interaction. Kids won’t know how to have real conversations when they grow up. They may even find real life boring because they’re so into their screens. There are some physical worries too that involve back and neck problems from kids being too into their screen for too long.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two, we know kids are still watching TV, playing with iPads, and grabbing mommy’s phone for a fun app. While it may seem easier to stick a screen in front of their faces rather than let them get bored or explore the world around them, we’re really doing our children more harm than good.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of letting my kids watch TV and play games on my phone. But, I’ve also noticed how downright addicted they can get, especially to the phone and iPad. I wish I knew what it was. I can see their little eyes zone out as they watch the images on the screen come to life. That’s when it’s time to limit just how much screen time is in their little lives. Everything in moderation.

Before we come down on our kids for always being plugged in, I think we need to take a look in the mirror. Many parents, myself included, can also become glued to our phones and other technological devices. I wish I could explain why. If our kids see that we can’t put the phone down and interact, it should come as no surprise that they won’t either.

If you’re looking for a way to teach even toddlers about the importance of unplugging, start a “no phones at the table rule.” I started this rule for me and my husband in our home and any other place where we sit down to eat. The idea is to be able to have a conversation…uninterrupted. Now when my kids see other adults and teenagers with their phones on the table, they’ll tell them to turn them to put them away…even my three-year-old gets into it! See, it really does work! Perhaps if we start teaching by example, we can pull the plug on some devices and save them from problems as they get older.

Do you let your little ones have screen time? Do you regulate how much?