Modern parents have a tricky job when it comes to keeping children entertained. Older parents may disagree and claim that life has never been easier. If your child is acting up, just whack on Netflix, and they’ll be content for hours. Or, give them a game to play on a tablet, and you won’t hear a peep out of them for hours.
Ironically, this is what makes it a difficult task for parents! There are easy ways of entertaining children, but these ways are not ideal. You shouldn’t plonk your child in front of screens all day long as it can harm their health. A bit of screen time is fine, but too much can be incredibly bad for them. If you’re someone who always lets their child sit in front of a screen, perhaps you should look at some of the points below to see why this isn’t ideal:
Screens can cause permanent eye damage
This isn’t new knowledge, but it’s worth repeating as lots of kids are growing up with vision problems. Staring at a screen for hours on end can cause eye strain that damages the eyes. For a young child, it can leave them with glasses before they’re old enough to go to school. Is this a life-changing problem that leaves them disadvantaged? No, of course it isn’t! In fact, glasses are very fashionable these days; everyone is talking about it, so perhaps your child would like to have them. Still, the point is that it’s not good to let your child grow up with avoidable vision problems. If their eyesight is naturally poor, that’s fine. But, any good parent should do what they can to avoid potential issues.
Screens can trigger headaches
Similarly, staring at a screen can cause headaches in young children and adults. Again, this stems from the strain it puts on your eyes. Essentially, the eyes have to work a lot hard to remain focused. From here, it puts extra stress and can cause headaches that originate behind the eyes. Young children can be plagued by bad headaches or migraines all the time. As a parent, this isn’t something you want to deal with. You want your child to be as healthy as can be and to avoid any pain. So, sitting them in front of a screen is not going to be the best approach.
Screens make children inactive
Think back to the original point about older parents saying you have it easy. Strangely, they also argue that kids aren’t as social or active as they used to be. On the one hand, they claim parents have it easier because you can plonk your children in front of a screen. On the other, they complain about a lack of activity! Ironically, this perfectly encapsulates the problem for modern parents. By taking the easy way out, you harm your child’s health & wellbeing. Sitting in front of a screen makes a child inactive. Naturally, this will lead to weight gain and a poor level of fitness. It’s no coincidence that childhood obesity rates have increased as technology has become more accessible. You should look for ways to encourage a child to take breaks from screen-time and run around a bit!
Screens can harm a child’s social skills
Likewise, screens may hamper a child’s ability to be sociable. This stems from the idea that they don’t spend time outside with other kids. A modern child would rather spend hours playing on the computer than going to a park. That’s the sad reality, but you can encourage them to think otherwise! If children aren’t social, they grow up with a lack of social skills that can hinder them throughout life. So, it’s your job to ensure that this isn’t the case.
Am I suggesting that every parent should ban their children from viewing screens? Not at all! Instead, I’m saying we should think about how we entertain our children. There are times when you need to put a screen in front of them to help them relax and stop annoying you. For example, if you’re busy working or making dinner, you can’t stop to entertain your child. Instances like these are where screen-time makes the most sense.
However, you should also keep tabs on how long they spend watching TV or playing video games. Don’t let them stare at screens for too long every day. Also, try to go out with them as much as you can – particularly on weekends. Screens aren’t evil, but they can cause many problems for a young child.