Studies consistently demonstrate children who spend a lot of time on electronics may be delayed in speech, various cognitive tasks, and have sleep problems.
We know electronics are not going away and we struggle with how to set limits on screen use – not just for our children, but for ourselves.
But, what’s a parent to do about it all?
According to an article in Today’s Parent, the deeper problem may be not how much time your child spends in front of a screen but whether he or she is addicted to it.
Want to know if your child is addicted? Here are six behaviors consistent with addiction to electronics:
- Your child can’t control their use of electronics
- A loss of interest in other activities
- Electronic games preoccupy their thoughts
- It interferes with socializing (such as playing on the tablet or phone at the dinner table)
- Screen use is causing family problems and fights
- Your child shows signs of withdrawal when screens are removed (panic, anxious behaviors, temper tantrums, aggression, etc.)
- Their tolerance of screen time is increasing
- They’re deceptive about it (sneaking the tablet into the bedroom)
- A screen is their mood booster
In earlier posts, I’ve shared the limits the medical experts recommend when it comes to electronics exposure For more info, click here.
This week, let’s take a look at the first one on the above list of addictive behaviors–the child can’t control the use. Obviously, younger children need limits set and enforced by loving parents. Teenagers do, as well. Enforcing limits on the screens will fall to you and that’s where I come in.
While I can’t come into your home and turn off the screens, I want to encourage you to do it.
Yes, they’ll hate you and scream and fuss. Expect it. But, stay strong, Mama. You are not alone.
When you begin to falter in your commitment, recall this — God has gifted you those lovely children and He has a purpose for their lives. I’m pretty sure His plan for their life is bigger and more important than wasting time watching entertainment.
Let’s work this week to get them outside in God’s fresh air and build strong bodies, strong social skills, and a love for God’s green world. Let them touch a caterpillar and wade barefoot in the creek. Let them build a fort with sticks or dig a hole to China (not really) in the sand pit.
In other words, let them play creatively without our guidance and instruction. They’re learning in those unstructured ways more than we can imagine.
Playing in nature is also a wonderful way to talk to them about God and his magnificent power and creativity.
‘Til next week, continue to enforce limits on screen time and use the freed up time to go outside or let them make a fort with all the sticks that have fallen in the recent storms. Just keep the area safe and let them loose to explore and create.
What was your favorite thing to play or do when you were a child?
(Photo from Pixabay)