The phrase "screen time" denotes the activities that are done in front of a digital screen. Whether it be watching TV, working on the computer, playing video games, or using mobile phones and iPods, screen time is never a healthy endeavor (aside from learning something.) In fact, too much screen time, particularly in kids, can be bad for one's health.
Screen time is regarded as a sedentary time because very little energy is spent when you are physically inactive. Hence too much screen time combined with a sedentary lifestyle can definitely take a toll on your child’s overall well-being. Yes, excessive screen time, whether from the TV or iPod, can result in a wide array of problems – from physical conditions like obesity to mental issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
So before you or kid overuses their computer or iPod beyond repair, be aware of some of the health side effects of too much screen time. Some of the following problems can associated with too much screen time.
1. Obesity: Various studies evidence that children who watch TV for more than two hours in a day are prone to be obese than others. This is because they sit inactive for hours, often snacking unhealthy food items. Obesity is dangerous as it is a major risk factor for numerous health problems. Moreover obesity in children can also lead to a feeling of isolation and inadequacy.
2. Irregular sleep patterns: Similarly a child who watches TV for more than two hours is likely to suffer from irregular sleep patterns accompanied by strange nightmares and dreams. If your child spends a lot of time playing games in the computer the self-luminous back lit display in the computer can cause the melatonin levels to drop making him/her difficult to sleep.
3. Behavioral problems: Viewing TV for more than two hours can lead to behavioral problems and poor social skills. Excessive watching of TV, or obsessively reaching for an iPod or smartphone, can also pave the way for anti-social behavior. Spending too much time in front of the computers can cause physical changes in the brain and lead to attention and behavioral issues. Too much video gaming can also permanently or temporarily deactivate certain nerves in the brain.
4. Impaired academic performance and less time for play: Excessive TV time has also been linked with other negative outcomes like poor academic performance and less physical play. Too much screen time leaves less time for creative and active play which is indispensable for the growth of the child.
5. Emotional problems: Too much time spent in front of the screen can cause emotional problems such as depression and anxiety in children. Moreover, children who spend more time in front of the TV or computer have reduced levels of self-worth, self-esteem and happiness.
6. Violence and fear: Exposure to excess doses of violence can also make them more aggressive and less sympathetic towards people. Excess TV viewing can also trigger feelings of fear when they watch scary things.
7. Other problems: Excessive use of phones and tablets can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, frequent headaches, neck pain and back pain too. Research studies also depict that too much computer time or sitting glued to the TV may also hurt your heart and shorten your life span.
To limit screen time it is best to keep TV’s and computers out of bedroom. Moreover children should not be allowed to eat in front of the screen as it can lead to mindless munching, which paves the way for obesity. Involving them in alternative activities can prevent them from spending too much time in front of the screen. Most of all we have to set a good example by restricting our screen time.
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