Updated: Sep 18, 2020
As families stay home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, there has been an increase in the amount of time spent in front of a screen. Screen time is a term that is used for any activity done in front of a screen such as watching TV, working on a computer, or playing video games.
A study done by the American Speech Language Hearing Association linked screen time to the delay of speech development. The results of this study suggested that for every 30 minutes increased in screen time, speech delay is increased by 49%. Too much screen time is also linked to obesity, irregular sleep schedules, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), behavioral problems, loss of social skills, violence, and less time for play. To reduce the risk of these health-related problems, it is important to limit screen time. Here are some tips:
Make TVs and computers stay in shared spaces of the house (e.g. living room, kitchen)
Add “technology-free” time to your daily schedule
Help kids find other activities to keep them entertained
Create an active space where kids can burn off energy
Decrease your own screen time to be a good role model for children
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children must spend less time in front of a screen and more time getting better quality of sleep and engaging in active play. Some activities families can do to replace screen time includes bike rides or walks, listening to music, outdoor play, puzzles and boardgames, etc. Not only do these activities allow for less time in front of a screen, but they also promote physical activity which is so important for our health and wellbeing. With that said, put the screens down, grab a boardgame, and HAVE FUN!
California State University, Fullerton, ’19, BS
Mount Saint Mary’s University, ’20, BSN
Robinson, T. N., Banda, J. A., Hale, L., Lu, A. S., Fleming-Milici, F., Calvert, S. L., & Wartella, E. (2017). Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 140(2), 97–101.
Tamana, S., Ezeugwu, V., Chikuma, J., Lefebvre, D. L., Azad, M. B., Moraes, T. J., Subbarao, P., Becker, A. B., Turvey, S. E., Sears, M. R., Dick, B. D., Carson, V., Rasmussen, C., Pei, J., & Mandhane, P. J. (2019). Screen-time is associated with inattention problems in preschoolers: Results from the CHILD birth cohort study. PloS one, 14(4).
“To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 24 April 2019, https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/24-04-2019-to-grow-up-healthy-children-need-to-sit-less-and-play-more.