The Effects of Screen Time on Children
Among the parenting world, many topics can become points of contention. Is this idea the right or wrong way to parent? Will it have a positive or negative effect on our children? Screen time, and specifically time spent watching television, has become one of the most common points of contention.
It is often reported that screen time should be limited, it can stunt development, or it creates aggression. The points people often miss are the benefits of screen time and the effects of passive screen time, meaning second hand exposure to screens through parents or siblings. In this article we’ll explore the possible effects of screen time that we’ve discovered — both positive and negative.
The Positive Effects of Screen Time
Screens are tempting and motivating to children — no one will deny that. Children are being raised in a time when technology and screens are everywhere. They see their parents and friends using them and they want to as well.
This can lead to an increased motivation to participate in activities that they dislike because they are in a medium that they do enjoy. Schools are incorporating more and more technology to harness this desire and children are learning better.
At a young age, children can be exposed to more stimuli and learning material through technology than ever before (though, of course, this doesn’t have to replace person to person learning). This technology also allows expansion in other areas, such as communication and family bonding: Long distance family can now be face to face through a phone. You can see gestures, facial expressions, and even surroundings rather than just hear a voice. Children can build and feel that in-person bond even when being in person is not possible.
On a basic level, screen time at a young age teaches a child skills that will be necessary throughout all stages of their life. It will not only be mandatory to use a computer but assumed that they already have all of the knowledge to know how.
They will need to understand new technology as it emerges in order to keep up in the changing world. Learning technology and screen time is now a basic requirement, just as learning to eat with a spoon or write the ABCs has been in regards to development. Of course there must still always be a balance, but early exposure to screens and technology is not always a bad thing.
The Negative Effects of Screen Time
As with anything, there is also a downside to the increase in technology and screens in our lives.