By Medicover Hospitals / 26 September 2021
It is not so strange in these days to see kids being glued to smartphones, gaming consoles, TVs for hours. Since screens are everywhere, it’s hard for parents to control the child’s screen time. But what made it much complicated was allowing kids to use electronic devices even at home.
These days, kids reach for electronic gadgets of all kinds especially smartphones, computers, tablets, and iPads as soon as they are able to grasp an object in their hands. And they are getting attracted to those mesmerizing screens which make them spend a lot of time in front of them. Initially, nothing may seem problematic, but if this habit continues for a long time it may definitely lead to certain risks. If kids get habituated to these smart devices at a young age, even parents have to struggle to get them out of it.
Excessive screen time has a negative impact on kid’s health both physically and mentally.
Here are the top Negative Effects of too much Screen Time for Kids:
Usage of any electronic screen requires one to sit down or at least be still while using it. Along with this inactive nature, consumption of high-calorie junk food often leads to childhood obesity. When kids have their meals or snacks while watching TV, they don’t have the measure of control over what they eat. So children who have a habit of eating during screen time are more likely to become overweight. Since obesity leads to a variety of health problems which include diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease; kids have a higher risk of developing health issues later in childhood due to prolonged screen time.
Screens seem so mesmerizing that kids can’t take eyes off them. But kids who watch screens for a long time are at a higher risk of irreversible eye damage. Prolonged screen time can result in digital eye strain which may include burning, itchy, or tired eyes. Kids who spend a lot of time in front of screens may experience blurred or double vision.
Sleep is essential for development and well-being;, especially for kids. It is important for learning and memory, emotions, behaviors and more importantly for overall health. But the overexposure to screens decreases the total amount of sleep children should get. When children get exposed to screens for a long time, their sleep patterns get disturbed and the quality of sleep gets affected. This leads to sleep deprivation and affects their development and growth. All electronic devices including phones, tablets, iPads, & TVs, emit blue light from the screen. When kids use any of these devices before bedtime, the body interprets the emitted blue light as daylight and the brain sends out the signal to wake up. So, this makes a child stay awake even when the screen is shut off. Kids who suffer from sleep deprivation may be cranky and have a higher risk of obesity, academic issues, and other health problems.
As said earlier, usage of any electronic device needs one to be still while using it. Using smartphones, tablets, or iPads for a long time affects the kid’s body posture. Disturbed body posture during the developing years can lead to harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime. Over-exposure to screens may result in developing back pain and headaches in kids. The link between pains and screen time is not due to the kind of screen activity the kids are engaged in, but the amount of time they spend on it. The frequency of headaches and back pain depends on how long kids have been exposed to screens.
Kids who spend most of their time in front of screens lack social interaction skills. Social interaction not only includes conversations but also recognizing and understanding nonverbal cues. Nonverbal cues include facial expression, the tone of voice and eye contact that provide important information while interacting with others. People who understand these cues tend to have better social success and stronger relationships. These skills are learned with experience throughout childhood. But children who overuse and spend too much interacting with an electronic device have limited face-to-face contact with people that affects their future adult relationships later in life.
Excessive screen time has been linked to aggression and other behavioral issues. Kids who are being overexposed to screens have angry outbursts when it’s time for the screen to go off and acts irritable when they don’t use electronic devices. In some kids, too much screen time can worsen an underlying mental disorder. Children who spend a lot of time watching violent shows or play games which feature violence or that use weapons are more likely to be aggressive both at home and school. This leads to a lack of concern for others and spoils the relations.