Ways to replace screen time for children

Ways to replace screen time for children

Today, many parents are struggling to curtail screen time and find alternate ways to engage their children. For many, the struggle is being able to coax their children to disengage from the screen.

Now that online schooling has brought screens into the home, the magnet of online games and recreation seems to be consuming the hours of most children.

Ironically, for parents the screen is an easy tool at their disposal that offers them moments of respite, but the addiction to screens by young children is not what most had bargained for. Most parents and caretakers are aware that children shouldn’t be given easy access to technology at such a young age. Yet, we are all guilty of doing so because we need to multitask, we are tired, and because children simply love it. It’s surprising to see that two-year-olds today can operate a smartphone probably better than I can.

Yet, despite how easy it might be to hand that gadget to your child, I’ll state the obvious – screen time for children isn’t right at all. Research from the Indian Academy of Pediatrics points out that children below the age of two years should not be exposed to any type of screen with the exception of occasional video calls with relatives. For children between the age of two and five years, screen time should not exceed one hour, though the lesser, the better. For ages higher than five, screen time should never come at the cost of any other activity crucial for development such as physical activity, sleep, school work, eating etc.

Further, increased time on phones and tablets also means less time spent with others. This comes at the cost of slowing down and hindering the development of language skills, social and interpersonal skills that develop the much needed ability to feel compassion and empathy.

Sadly, it can also cause isolation at a young age, leading to issues like increased anxiety and even depression in the future.

Hence, despite the fact that we might be proud of our child quickly grasping their command over technology or learning rhymes through YouTube, screen time for kids, beyond school, must be minimised and discouraged.

Prior to the technological age, children enjoyed childhood in the true sense of the word. A childhood that had them use their imagination to create games, find friends to play with and be in touch with the outdoors – all tools necessary to sculpt children into wholesome, confident and social beings with a real sense of their world.

While we have identified the problem, I would like to focus on some possible alternatives to engage our children.

Start with […]

How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

Amir, a seven years old child, shows violent behavior and angry outbursts when his mother, Nour, refuses to let him watch TV or play on his iPad. Moreover, he does his virtual homework only if his mother allows him to spend at least five hours straight on screens. Amir’s mother, Nour, told Enab Baladi that even on special family occasions, her children spend a significant part of their playtime with their peers on screens amid the absence of traditional children’s games, which include physical activities.

In the past, TV stations used to broadcast children’s cartoons and shows within a scheduled period of time, commensurate with the school education systems in each country, in an attempt to minimize the negative side effects of too much-unorganized screen time. Unfortunately, the new digital devices, which display their content 24 hours a day, thanks to the available access to the internet, undermined efforts to monitor time spent staring at screens. Children can use technology, turning it into a habit that can be practiced at any time and without limits. Moreover, the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the shutdown of traditional schools accelerated the embracement of digital learning immensely. Thus, children’s screen time soared during the pandemic.

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly told Enab Baladi that children’s misuse of technology—children often use technology for playing video games and watching videos— poses great dangers to their mental health, especially at young ages, the stage when the children are developing their language and social skills in order to interact and communicate with others.

Children’s mental health is also affected by the overuse of technology. Video games, in particular, have a harmful effect on their attention and concentration. While playing video games, children are completely detached from their surroundings. In other words, they cannot focus on their daily life activities, including physical ones, or connect with their families appropriately.

Prolonged TV viewing and digital game playing also inhibit the child’s ability to communicate and interact with other children, which is essential at this age. Excessive screen time may also lead to depression, anxiety, addictive behavior regarding the internet, sensitivity, anger outbursts, separation from reality, and lack of acceptance of real-life and interaction with its events. Alternative solution

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly said that one of the methods to mitigate potential risk factors for children, including their spending too much time on digital screens, is to find other non-screen activities for children to become involved. This means extra parent-child bonding activities. Parents should spend more quality time with their children; they should communicate with their children openly and effectively, carry out at-home activities, and minimize the amount of time children […]

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Sandy Hook Promise Sounds the Alarm for Adults: The Kids Are Not Alright

Sandy Hook Promise Sounds the Alarm for Adults: The Kids Are Not Alright

Staying in a bedroom for 20 hours a day. Being constantly plugged in online. These are just a few of the stressors that youth have faced over the last year due to the pandemic, leading to heightened anxiety and depression, among other new or worsening mental health struggles. This emotional situation can give rise to various forms of youth violence — not just shootings, but also suicide and self-harm.

News. Social media. Online classes. Teenagers are plugged into bad news and challenging learning environments. Social media, which can be a positive place to connect, may spark feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. Learn how to help them unplug by knowing the signs at https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/how-to.

The kids are not alright. Learn the warning signs to prevent a tragedy. Tweet this To help adults better understand the “powder keg” of turmoil threatening the lives and well-being of kids right now, Sandy Hook Promise released a new PSA campaign today, ” The Kids Are Not Alright. ” Created with BBDO New York, this series of three short videos reflects the anxiety, isolation, pressure, boredom, and incessant information overload that teenagers are experiencing. It is a national call to action for parents and other caring adults: learn the signs of a child in emotional distress and get help before it’s too late.

“We may think kids are resilient, but the truth is — the kids are not alright,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “More youth are struggling with mental health issues and heightened depression and anxiety as a result of the pandemic. And it’s our responsibility to listen to them, support and protect them.”

Recent studies show more than 70% of teenagers are struggling with mental health concerns, and one in four has considered suicide. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers — and these tragedies can be preventable.

Even as we begin to reopen, we’re a long way from going back to normal. When schools reopen in the fall, social distancing will still be required. Students will have to deal with the stress of a new school year combined with adapting to the new school environment. Many will be returning to school after suffering the death of a loved one during the COVID crisis. Their stress will continue to mount and those who already suffered trauma will be at even greater risk of suicide and self-harm.

Research groups are predicting that there will be more “deaths of despair” related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, as we continue […]

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