To Be or Not to Be in Front of the Screen

reducing-screen-time

We try to keep our kids safe, happy and healthy at all costs. This means going to the grocery store for fruit instead of sugary afterschool snacks, and bundling them up from head to toe in cold weather. It means keeping the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus a secret and letting them stay home from school on a maybe-not-so sick day.

However, one of the most talked-about parenting techniques is whether or not we should limit our children’s screen time. This includes television, computers, videogames, tablets and cell phones. To explore the debate, here are Ryan Homes at Brunswick Crossing’s pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. A lot of social interaction and conversation between children stems from what’s happening in the media. This could be catching up on television shows, chatting about the new graphics on a tablet or seeing viral videos on social media.

  2. Some television shows, phone and tablet apps and videogames can be educational. Programs like Schoolhouse Rock, Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse teach toddlers language, art, geography, history and so much more. Even teenagers can benefit from how-to shows like HGTV and Food Network.

  3. Watching nature shows can help lower blood pressure, relieve muscle tension and make viewers feel more energetic and charitable, according to a study at the University of Rochester in New York.

  4. Using the Wii’s active games can be a good workout. From yoga and Pilates to Zumba and running, players can use the system as an at-home gym.

  5. The original use for tablets was to virtualize reading. Kindles and Nooks are meant to keep reading alive in a digital era, which is beneficial to your children’s intelligence, imagination and creativity.

  6. Playing video games and gaming apps improve fine motor skills, vision and decision-making.

  7. Everything is going digital, and, since your kids have the advantage of growing up in the technology era, tinkering with programs and graphics could be beneficial for their future college applications and job resumes.

Cons:

  1. The more time your child is sedentary while watching a screen, the greater their risk of becoming overweight.

  2. As your child watches more television or plays more videogames, they may have trouble falling asleep at night. This is a rising concern because many kids charge their cell phones overnight next to their beds, substituting sleep for social media or other apps. This could lead to an irregular sleep schedule, too.

  3. Exposure to screens could lead to attention problems when learning at school, and studies found that elementary school students with television sets in their room performed worse on exams than those without TVs in their rooms.

  4. Excessively using cell phones, tablets, video games, television or computers can lead to addiction, which can negatively affect studious efforts, diet, social interaction and exercise.

  5. Watching violence within videogames, apps or television shows can desensitize children to violent behavior, leading to bullying.

  6. Binge-watching programs without educational value and scrolling through social media accounts can lead to harmful and unrealistic views on life. 

  7. Security issues are becoming more of an issue when it comes to the Internet because it’s easy for children to sign up for dead or virus-ridden links. Users need an account for almost every website these days, so putting your personal information out there can be dangerous.

Whether the only mouse your child knows is Mickey, or they’re savvy enough to use one instead of a computer pad, there are pros and cons to screen time. Many families find peace in simply monitoring screen time instead of eliminating it, but take the time to figure out what’s best for your kids.