How to keep children away from Screen

A common sight these days is to see kids with their heads down, glued to gadgets lost in a virtual world missing out on the excitement and adventures of the real world. A recent study indicates a 100% increase in the screen time of kids since the lock-down started. The study also points out that this has become a worrying trend with 84% of parents surveyed expressing concern about the increasing screen time with children spending over 5 hours online. Quite shocking indeed!

As parents, while we all know how harmful excessive screen time can be for kids, we are all guilty of using it more often than not as a diversion tactic. What many of us do not realize straightaway are some of the longer-term impacts of doing so, that a growing body of research now indicates.

Tunnel vision: Excessive exposure limits kids’ ability to observe, experience, and learn from the typical everyday activities and their surroundings affecting their overall development.

Delayed Language Development: Studies have shown that kids can learn between three to five languages by the age of five by interacting with others – parents, teachers and care givers. Studies now indicate a correlation between children who spend higher percentage of time glued to screens during early elementary school years and their relative lower performance at reading & vocabulary tests.

Impact on Sleep: Another important downside of excessive screen time is the impact on their sleep. A study states that infants who are exposed to screen-time in the evening showed significantly shorter night time sleep than those who had no evening screen exposure.

“What many of us do not realize straightaway are some of the longer-term impacts of doing so, that a growing body of research now indicates. “

Does this mean that one cannot allow their child to watch the screen at all? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is better for children younger than 18 to 24 months, to be completely off the screen, except when video chatting with family. It also recommends limiting screen time use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just one hour a day.

As a parent myself, I have quite often wondered what I could do differently. Here are some options to consider

Back to Books: Reading is probably one of the best ways to keep your child off the screen. Get them books according to their interest and age, and encourage them to read. Read our other articles about inculcating reading habits among children. Read to your child as much as possible because as they say it ‘no app can replace your lap’.

Be a Role model: Kids learn a lot from what they see in their surroundings. So, keep the gadget away and spend quality time doing kid friendly activity. Engage and involve the entire family.

Hobbies: Get them excited about hobbies like gardening, baking, art and crafts. This could be a great way to spend some quality time together and allow them to experiment in a safe way.

Balanced Hands-on Approach: Give them a mix of screen time and off the screen activities. This is one of the most important things that you need to do. For school going kids, you could start with a time-table for screen time exactly like you would do for their studies. Regulate time as well as content for them.

Are there other tips or suggestions that you have? We would love to hear from you on what you do to keep your kids off the screen.

Debolina Coomar

Debolina is a freelance Content writer, Blogger and an Author. She has been part of several short story and poem anthologies and a Certified Advanced Communicator and Advanced Leader from Toastmasters International. Debolina conducts public speaking and creative writing classes for kids and IELTS for adults.

10 Comments

  • This is such an important topic. It is heartbreaking to see young kids glued to the screen. TV, computer, phone – just the size varies. Introducing them to something new and interesting will help them staying away from screen and think something beyond video games.

    Reply
  • As a teen myself, I wanna thank you for quite literally saving my life! I’ve been glued to my phone and your tips have really helped me to take the decision to break this addiction! Thank you 💕

    Reply
  • This is a great post. I really appreciate this and loved your ways of reducing the screen time for children. I have seen parents handing over their phones to engage children but these are some better ways.

    Reply
  • This is indeed a really the best post i have come across. I have a super active daughter who 3 years and constantly hyperactive and never at rest . Her interest in eating food lies only because of cellphone . She is glued to screen most of the time. This has caused a massive impact on her speech and has delayed in talking. Me as a parent I always go wrong when I hand over my phone to my daughter to get my things done. . Rather I will now try different activity to keep her busy .

    Reply
  • In this current situation, children are prone to screen and it’s effecting their mind a lot. Your all points are so practical and we really need to implies in our life. Back to books is my favourite point though, and I hvae seen this in practical life.

    Reply
  • I can so relate to this as I have a toddler at home and loves the Peppa series but yes I am trying to engage him in colouring , blocks and free play…this blog really will help me.

    Reply
  • This is so true, kids in today’s time are totally glued into gadgets and more. And it’s difficult for parents to manage, to keep the kids away from gadgets. Becoz of their annyoing moods ,when asked to keep them away from electronic items.
    Make a schedule to balance it out, to make them more creative and get into physical activities. So that they will spend less time on screen and more time on other activities.

    Reply
  • Keeping kids engaged in tasks that are playful and learning is so important, this way we can keep them away. Really liked the doable tips in the blog post.

    Reply
  • With the online classes dominating the scene, keeping kids away from screen is very important. We have to make sure their screen hour is in check.

    Reply
  • Tunnel vision is a dangerous situation indeed. We always ignore this in an attempt to keep the kids engaged somehow. Thanks to you. This post is much helpful

    Reply

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