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How Much Time Should Children Spend on Digital Screens?

Updated on September 7, 2020
Donald Ngonyo profile image

Donald is an Education and Social Researcher. He works as a freelance researcher, writer, and editor.

The Technology Revolution

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete," said Buckminster Fuller, the American engineer, architect, and futurist. Against a world that has overcome many challenges, our century calls for new parenting models based on the existing realities. If we are true to our nature, saving our children will not be based on strict parenting styles from past years but embracing the opportunities presented by technologies. We must never fear that digital technologies will harm our children but encourage responsible use.

Without a doubt, technology has revolutionized the way people do things, and children are not left out. Parents, experts, and policymakers are worried about the amount of time that children should spend on digital devices such as television, tablets, smartphones, videogame devices, and more (Jary, 2020). There are numerous expert guidelines regarding children's use of these devices and how much time they should be allowed. However, with the dramatic changes in lifestyles due to the Coronavirus outbreak, digital devices are increasingly becoming important in children's lives. It would be equally valid when we say that they are an essential aspect of the wellbeing of a child.

Why Should We Limit Screen Time?

Whether children must have limited time with gadgets must be answered based on how vital these gadgets are for children to undergo certain activities. I believe that spending time on a screen is not an unhealthy thing. The main problem is the quality of the content consumed by the child. Many activities are useful to a child’s development aided by these technologies. For example, after the Coronavirus outbreak, children have been using these devices to access learning materials, play games, and communicate with family, friends, and teachers. These activities are not dangerous and can never warrant limiting children’s access to digital gadgets and screens (Alton, 2020).

A World of Technology

Suppose you observe the trends in the world. In that case, it is undeniable that the future will be saturated with technology in every facet of life. These can be evident by merely surveying the current innovations and how companies strive to produce sophisticated technologies to enhance life quality. Therefore, the idea of limiting screen time for kids is argued from one dimension. There is a need to understand the key benefits arising from the responsible use of these technologies. Limiting children’s access to these devices denies them chances to learn and grow. The focus must be on finding the balance and ensuring the responsible use of these gadgets.

Technology for Learning and Development

Devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets can aid children in learning. However, there are risks associated with continuous exposure to risk. At some point, the children will be exposed to content that is beyond their age. In order to curb these impacts, parents need to encourage digital literacy among children. This can include telling the child about the situations that can occur while using the device and what attitudes or actions you expect.

Another essential aspect of digital literacy is encouraging critical thinking skills. When children can criticize and determine whether what they see on screens is accurate, this can be an essential part of intellectual development. It is also important to tell the children that information is created by people with particular perspectives about core life issues. This will prepare them to stand against things that do not align with their morals or ideals.

When to Set Limits

Life must be balanced. Children must get sufficient time to play, interact with friends, and share time with family members. In order to avoid low mental and physical development, the parent is responsible for setting the limits on the time spent on screens. Creating tech-free moments within and without the house is essential. This ensures holistic development in all areas of life. When children have do written homework, the parent must also discourage and limit access to these screens. There is also a need to install applications that can limit the amount of time a child spends watching the screen (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).

Conclusion

When considering limiting children’s access to digital gadgets and technologies, you might want to establish solid reasons for your actions. However, time and again, technology has been found to play an essential role in children’s learning and development. The main motive behind limiting access to technologies should be based on the perceived merits and demerits. Notably, there is a need for parents to encourage responsible behaviors among children when handling technology. One of the essential aspects is promoting digital literacy and critical thinking. Technology is good if it is utilized correctly and for the intended purposes. In this regard, there is a need to continue encouraging responsible digital consumption rather than a blanket limitation of the child’s access to technology.

References

Alton, I. L. (2020, January 10). Screen Time for Kids; How Much is Too Much? Retrieved from https://newsroom.osfhealthcare.org/screen-time-for-kids-how-much-is-too-much/

Jary, S. (2020, April 7). How much screen time is healthy for children? Retrieved from https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/feature/digital-home/how-much-screen-time-for-kids-3520917/

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, June 20). Screen time and children: How to guide your child. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/screen-time/art-20047952

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Donald Ngonyo

What is your view about this issue?

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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A straightforward look at the matter. I think we are right on the money here. Thanks for this good piece.

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