Today’s generation of young children are exposed to or have access to the world through the Internet. They are bombarded with video games, cell phones, iPads, and many have TVs in their bedrooms.
We have all heard that excessive screen time is not a good idea, and the American Academy of Pediatrics still suggests limiting the amount of total screen time to 1-2 hours a day, and discourage screen media exposure for children less than 2 years old.
Moreover, too much exposure to screen time can interfere with learning, attention, and a child’s healthy weight. What are some other problems that kids of the screen generation might face? Below are some of the biggest ones:
1. Sleep deprivation
The average child needs at least 10-12 hours of sleep each night to allow the body and brain to grow. Electronic screens emit a “blue light” that the body interprets to be daylight. This awakens the body which causes the child to be awake rather than sleepy at bedtime. Lack of sleep affects the child’s health, learning, and attention span.
Obesity in children is a national concern. Sitting in front of video screens for hours at a time can cause weight gain due to the lack of physical activity. This can lead to other health concerns like diabetes and heart problems.
3. Rewiring of the brain
The Internet has rewired our children’s brains. They have come to expect instant gratification when texting and using the Internet, and their thought patterns have been changed to meet that expectation. This, in turn, has an effect on how they relate to the world around them.
4. Eyestrain, spine, and posture
Electronic devices give off blue and violet light. Not only is vision affected, but the spine can be affected as well. Chiropractors around the country are noticing an epidemic in spinal issues of children and teens. “Text neck” has been reported in children who tend to text a lot. These children complain of neck pain, back pain, and headaches.
5. Lack of parental supervision and control
The lack of parental supervision leads to many other serious problems. When a child is not being supervised or is allowed to have electronic freedom, they are exposed to an unsafe world.
Cyberbullying has become a recent problem, and oftentimes parents are not even aware that this is going on. Another concern is access to pornography and violence. If parents are not aware of how easy it is to access those adult things, children are left extremely vulnerable.
Technology is a part of our everyday lives, and we know that hours of exposure to a video screen is not the best use of our children’s time. It is our responsibility as adults to help the screen generation learn to limit their time and avoid the many problems that they may be exposed to.