Almost since they are born, children are habitual of screens: TV, tablet, computer, mobile phone, and video game consoles ... But they need limits since excessive or inappropriate use can negatively affect both their health and their personal development.
Excessive use of screens leads to health problems, such as sleep disturbances, irritability, aggressiveness, increased risk of attention-deficit, eating disorders, obesity ... In addition, when the contents are inappropriate at their age, they may develop violent behaviour or end up having a distorted image of sexuality.
It is very important to control the number of hours that adolescents spend in front of the screens so that neither their health (food, exercise, sleep) nor their school performance or their social or family relationships are affected. Some children at this age begin to have problems to reduce the time they spend in digital environments and show signs of addictive behaviours.
10 Tips to reduce digital consumption in the family In addition to limiting time and monitoring content, the family can establish a series of rules to reduce digital consumption. These are 10 tips to achieve it:
1. During meals, the TV should remain off to encourage dialogue. Likewise, mobile phones will be dispensed with while eating as a family.
2. In the children's bedroom, there should be no TV, tablets, consoles or mobiles at the time of going to sleep. At least one hour before sleep, the child should not use electronic devices to improve the quality of sleep.
3. Whenever possible, parents should share their children's television time, which is essential when they are younger.
4. When they are not being used or watching, the screens should be off, for example, by unplugging the television if no one is in front of it.
5. The digital contents have to be previously reviewed by the parents who, if necessary, will install parental control systems in the devices to prevent access to inappropriate content or pages.
6. The rules about the prohibited contents (sex, violence, drugs ...) must be clear and always fulfilled.
7. The children have to know previously how much time they have to devote to digital media and you have to be consistent in the time applying the restrictions. It is good to exercise your self-control in this sense, trying to make them the ones who are waiting for the maximum time and are able to leave the device by themselves when the schedule has been fulfilled.
8. Ideally, the children should be explained why the use of screens is limited so that they understand that it is not an arbitrary decision. If there are difficulties in compliance, you can review with them why they are failing. It is better to agree than to prohibit.
9. It is easier to follow the rules if the parents set an example in the digital world, having a responsible consumption of media such as the telephone or social networks.
Akansha Bansal @BuddingStar
03 Jul 2019