Adults and children alike use electronic devices a lot
There are very few mindful smartphone users out there. Being with our kids and playing on our phone at the same time is not wise and it is unfortunately a regular thing anyone can witness these days. Even though we all want to set a good example for our children of using devices mindfully, it’s not always easy to put our smartphones away.
What can too much screen time do to children?
Children don’t know or understand that a lot of screen time can severely hinder their health and happiness in the short and long term. It can lead to:
- behaviour problems
- poor sleep
- poor physical activity
- poor school grades.
Moreover, way too often, children get this unspoken message that they’re less important and less interesting than a screen as their parents prove it every time they get glued to it instead of paying attention to their kids. Children may even start doing something risky, unconsciously begging their parents to notice them.
Pediatricians have been saying for a while now that less screen time is better. And parents mostly manage to control how much time their children spend on electronic devices. However they often neglect their own screen-related issues. They also forget that children soak in everything their moms and dads do. Kids watch us closely every day. They see us spending more and more time on the electronics and start copying us before long.
What you can do to decrease the damage
Unplugging is definitely a good thing to do. In order to help you with that process there are widely-spread and proven tactics:
- remove the TV from all the bedrooms,
- don’t allow any devices at dinner time using this opportunity to talk with your family rather than some virtual interlocutors,
- play with your kids in the real world using tangible toys and objects,
- limit all screen time unrelated to work or studies down to an hour per day, max.
Yet we all know that banning smartphones from our life altogether is hardly possible nowadays. So a wiser and more intentional smartphone use turns up. You can make it your habit by following this simple 3-step process:
- When you’re around children next time, think of an actual reason for taking your phone out.
- Then, before looking at the screen, state this reason out loud whether it be to text to your spouse or friend, to search for a pie recipe for dinner, or to look at a pretty picture somebody has sent you.
- When you’re done, put the phone away.
Conclusion: Benefits of Screen-less Time
It’s also suggested not to take the phone out without a specific reason for it. It’s actually very healthy to let our minds wander aimlessly from time to time. Usually it’s during those idle moments that great ideas come to us and masterpieces can be born. Unstructured time without a phone in our hands can be spent thinking, paying attention to what’s around us, playing with our kids, asking them about their dreams and their life. And it’s up to us to teach them to value such screen-less time and make this time mindfully.
- How Electronics Could Be Affecting Your Child’s Health