Did you know that between the television, the computer and texting, young children are spending an average of 53 hours per week in front of a screen? This is an incredible amount of time. It is disturbing when you realize some of the problems that can occur because of the inactivity that results from large amounts of time spent in front of a screen.
Children do need to use the television and the computer for school and various projects. It is also a great outlet when you want to relax and release emotion. However, it can be dangerous if it’s taking up too much time in their life.
How much time does your child spend interacting with media of some kind? Believe it or not, the average two-year-old watches at least some television daily, and almost a one-fifth of two-year-olds watch more than two hours worth of television daily. Media time is not just spent doing homework. By middle school, more than half of the children will spend at least two hours in front of a television daily.
While television can be very educational and fun, time spent in front of the television, is time spent sitting instead of engaging in activities like running, playing and jumping. If your child is not active, a variety of health issues can develop, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Obesity in children is on the rise, largely because children who watch a lot of television eat far more junk food as a cure for boredom. Many health issues, as well as social, emotional, and even developmental issues can develop when children don’t spend enough time interacting with their peers.
Experts base their recommendations for how much daily media time is good for children are based on the correlation between media time and negative outcome. If your child is over the age of two, two hours per day in front of any kind of screen media is the recommendation. The type of media, be it computer, video game, cell phone or television, is irrelevant. It’s also important to be mindful of content in media as content containing high violence, sexual content and vulgar language can lead to problems.
Babies and children under 2 should not spend any time in front of screen media. It can delay their development, make it harder for them to focus and cause other long-term health, social, wellness and emotional issues.
Media can be a useful tool for school and it can be a great way to alleviate stress and relax. However, too much time spent on media of any kind means too little time is spent doing other things like playing,using one’s imagination and being active.