Excessive time in front of screens is posing as a serious health hazard among people of all age groups. As everything becomes interlinked with technology, it is becoming exceedingly difficult to cut down on screen time. Young kids are the worst hit as prolonged screen time is extremely harmful for their mental growth as it causes delay in cognitive development.

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What is excessive screen time?

Psychologists describe excessive screen time or screen addiction as a situation when a child is completely lost in screens and feels that screen time alone will make them happy. They reach a point where they always want to go back to a screen every time their hands are free.

Disturbance in sleep pattern, frequent headaches, fatigue, swollen, red or watery eyes and sometimes even permanent damage to the eyes are some of the health issues one might face if they fail to give their eyes an appropriate break from devices with screens.

 So, who is at fault?

The question is whether it is becoming difficult for the parents or is it becoming difficult because of the parents? Work has become independent of paper but more dependent on technology. We receive mails electronically or as instant messages on our phones and we are always connected with everything with the help of our tablets and iPads. During leisure time we update our social media or follow what other people are posting. If we actually notice, there is hardly a time when we are not in front of the screens except when we’re asleep. This, in turn, has also become a reason why kids don’t obey their parents when they are told to cut their screen time. Remember kids learn from the environment.

How much time is appropriate?

While all of us know that technology is a big part of how we function today and cannot be done away with, there should definitely be a limit to our screen time which we should adhere to.

No research till now has been able to determine the appropriate time for individuals to be on or off-screen. But the fact that restrictions are necessary is quite evident seeing the adverse health effects.

Screens are great when used in moderation.

We need to look for alternative options and not use the phones or laptops for things which can be done without them. More screen time means less time for activities that are good for our health and overall well-being.

For example, instead of reading news on the mobile phones, one should try reading an actual newspaper for information, or one can ditch Kindle and pick a real book to read. Read a bedtime story from a book to your child than reading it on a hand-held device.

One should also set a limit and fix a time after which they shouldn’t use any of the devices. Although just fixing a time limit is not enough, one should follow it too.

Picture Credit: The Ayres Group

Kriti Dwivedi is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv  

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