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Screen Time...How much is too much?

Raising children in today’s technology driven world, child development and the way our children learn have not changed from when we were little actually they have not really changed since man began.What has changed though is technology, it has has crept into our lives and the lives of our children and we are still trying to work out how to deal with it and cope with it and what effects it is having on the development of our children and their developing minds and bodies. To date there has not been a lot of research done into the long term effects, so as parents we need to be aware and keep ourselves up to date.

Did you know that by age 5 most children’s brain development is 95% formed

The good news about technology is it is easy to access information. It has made connecting to people easier and technology advances show people a more efficient way to do things, and these processes get results. For example, education has been greatly advanced by the technological advances of computers. Students are able to learn on a global scale without ever leaving their classrooms.

The bad news is the more advanced society becomes technologically, the more people begin to depend on computers and other forms of technology for everyday existence. This means that when a machine breaks or a computer crashes, humans become almost disabled until the problem is resolved. This kind of dependency on technology puts people at a distinct disadvantage, because they become less self-reliant.

What do we know about the effect technology is having on our children?

  • Children are becoming less active which is resulting in an increase in childhood obesity

  • Children are finding it increasingly difficult to effectively communicate their need and wants to their friends and adults because the key social and emotional milestones have not been met

  • Children find it more difficult to make eye contact when talking to others

  • Children are learning to swipe, tap and pinch on screens and their fine motor and gross motor skills and strength is decreased which effects their hand writing skills and their ability to participate in sports in the future

Children’s imaginations and creative play exploration is on the decrease because when children become “Bored” they get a screen put in front of them. They should be encouraged in these situations to engage their creativity and work out something to do.

Fact A baby born today will have spent a full year in front of a screen by the age of 7……. SCARY!!!!

0-2 Year Olds

0-2 year olds should have 0 screen time, yes zero! Why, because this is the age of discovery, they are working on developing trust and attachment, they are experimenting with language and practising their social skills and emotional development and they are in the sensorimotor stage of development where they are using their senses to discover the world around them.

2 to 5 year olds

The recommendation for this age group is 1 hour screen time a day, as parents we need to remember that this includes Television, IPads, Computers and your Phone……. 1 hour is not much at all.We need to remember this age group is strong and capable and we need to set a good example of healthy lifestyle, they need to be outdoors, engaging their imaginations and being creative, taking risks and challenging themselves, they really do need to get a little bored so that they develop these above skills which in reality are life skills!

We suggest that you co view with your children so that you are 100% aware of what they are watching, viewing or playing.

Is what they are watching and playing age appropriate? Be aware because if they are viewing things above their understanding it can cause behavioural issues, disturb their sleep and possibly make your child feel stressed. If your child is showing signs of aggression, inappropriate language or demonstrating attitude assess what they are viewing or playing and step in and remove the device.

We need to remember in these situations we are the parent and we make the decisions on what is best for our child’s wellbeing.

Where are your children using these devices?

We always suggest in a public space in your home….never their bedroom! If they are using the device and you are busy cooking dinner or feeding a younger child make sure they are sitting close by so you can monitor their viewing.

In conclusion, you as the parent have the power to moderate your child’s viewing. You can and should establish house rules for technology, give children other things to do, don’t give into whining, interact and involve yourself in what they are doing or watching. But most importantly be a good and positive role model and set your children up for success.

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