How Much Screen Time Is Too Much For a Distance Learner?
With a major shift in the world towards distance learning, the discussion of how much time kids can safely spend looking at screens has only become more vital. Whether it be on smartphone, tablet or laptop, parents have usually been concerned with the time kids spend playing games, interacting on social media or watching TV shows and movies.
Even in a normal world you would also need to add the screen time spent on school computers used for a variety of purposes, such as searching Google and doing research. All of these online activities add up to a staggering number of hours per day looking at screens. And now we must also take into account the time spent doing online school. 85% of parents worry about the amount of time their kids are spending online these days.
The WHO & CDC both recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time for children under 18. Finding further specifics, The American Academy for Pediatrics urges a 1-hour screen time maximum for children under 6 years old.
Furthermore, it has been found that children under 2, who regularly watch at least 1 hour of television on a daily basis, may face an increased risk of cognitive, language, and motor delays. Similarly, other studies have claimed too much screen time can cause social and family dysfunction, as well as development delays and depression.
An interesting consideration about screens, in particular, is their emission of what’s referred to as “blue light”. Blue light is particularly influential because it blocks a hormone that your body makes called melatonin. When you are exposed to blue light waves, especially in the evening, melatonin is not produced, so your body isn’t getting that vital message about slowing down and getting ready for sleep. If your child continues surfing the ‘net on a tablet or smartphone after getting into bed, they could be telling their body to rise and shine, rather than slow down and rest.
Luckily, if you’re concerned about the impact additional screen time may be having on your child, there are steps in preparation for bedtime you can take to help limit your child’s blue light exposure.
With home learning comes more indoor time. However, this makes it especially easy to develop a screen addiction. Did you know excessive screen time can be toxic to our mental health? 56% of teens feel anxious or lonely without their phone.
Yet, distance learning sessions last more than our government recommends we spend on screens altogether – even with compelling data proving its potential to be mentally and physically dangerous.
Ask yourself: How often are your kids exercising since the quarantine? How social have they been since distance learning began?
The value of education should never be downplayed, but please double check to ensure distance learning isn’t taking a toll on your little ones.
In the meantime, check out the infographic below. It may help you shape a better understanding of how much screen time is too much for your children.