Internet Addiction – How Much Screen Time is Too Much? | Panda Anku

A common concern of parents is whether their child is spending too much time online. According to the US National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), it’s about “screen time” in general and not just time spent surfing the web.

Screen time includes any time spent in front of a digital screen (mobile phones, televisions, video game consoles, iPads, handheld digital devices, and computers).

crunching the numbers

Parents around the world fear their children may be missing out on “real” experiences because they spend so much time in the “screen world.” Here are some stats that back up that fear:

  • Studies show that children and young people from the age of eight spend an average of 44.5 hours a week in front of digital displays.
  • 23% of kids and teens admit they can’t go a day without a computer, cellphone or video game.

The dangers of excessive screen time for children

Our responsibility as parents is to limit the time our children spend online each day. We must ensure that our children have enough time to meet up with friends, read books, do schoolwork, homework, exercise, extracurricular activities, etc.

If not, here are the harmful effects of excessive screen use on your kids:

  • weight gain: Increased likelihood of becoming overweight or even obese if the condition persists for a long period of time. Screen time does not involve physical activity and is often accompanied by eating high-calorie snacks. Also, kids don’t like taking time away from their computer screens to eat healthy meals.
  • sleep disorder: Late bedtime and difficulty falling asleep due to compulsive late-night internet, video game, and television use.
  • Eyestrain: It’s probably no surprise that staring at a computer for hours is bad for your child’s eyes. The brightness of the display, coupled with glare, can overwhelm already tired eyes.
  • Muscle cramp: The time you spend bending over a computer or looking at a device can put a strain on your child’s neck, back, and shoulder muscles. If your child stays in these positions for a long time, they can develop pain and even serious musculoskeletal problems, also known as tech neck.
  • mood swings: Greater likelihood of developing depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, including ADD and ADHD.

Signs that your child may be developing an Internet addiction

If your child spends too much time online, they may develop compulsive tendencies. This can lead to Internet addiction, which can harm your child’s health.

How much internet use is too much for children and young people?

  • Children under the age of two should not have any screen time at all
  • Children between the ages of two and ten should have one hour of supervised online time every day
  • Tweens and Teens – No more than two hours a day after schoolwork is completed

How to limit your child’s screen time

No one is advocating that kids shouldn’t have screen time or internet access. Children and young people today need the Internet to research for school assignments. And when used correctly, it can be a reliable source of knowledge for children who enjoy reading or who want to learn more about certain subjects.

The secret is to limit screen time to healthy doses. Here are five ways you can help reduce your child’s screen time.

  1. Place the device where it is clearly visible: Place the computer in a central location outside of the child’s room. Make sure it’s positioned so you can see it when you enter the room.
  2. Secure web browsers: Install parental control software on your child’s PCs. They scan search queries and websites for inappropriate material. In addition, websites can be restricted based on your selected protection levels and ensure that your child only views age-appropriate websites.
  3. To be responsible: Set expectations and goals with your kids to consciously reduce screen time.
  4. Be engaged: After school or work, spend time each day talking face-to-face with children and giving them your full attention.
  5. Justify your decision to limit screen time: When your kids realize that excessive screen use has negative consequences, they’ll be much more inclined to stick to the rules you set.

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