“Rita, it’s time to study switch off the T.V now”. Mother shouted at Rita who was watching T.V for the past 2 hours. Yes! This is the household story of kids and their parents. We can see kids are more engrossed in T.V, mobile phones, videos, playing games on computer – the list is never-ending. Are they using these gadgets just for entertainment? May be! But sometimes, because of some reason, we ask them to watch T.V, use their mobile or play games on computer. Of course! The reasons are different. We want our kids to be smarter, fast, hi-tech at such young age. Indirectly we are responsible for their increasing screen time as well.
Indeed, there are some drawbacks of increasing screen time such as obesity, sleepless nights and loss of vision. Indirectly it has adverse effects on their health. But there are some drawbacks, which we do not realize. If screen time is increased their imagination may get affected. They may imagine things which are not real. They start living in the virtual world. They tend to start imaging things which are not real. For example, if a child is watching movies based on superheroes, then he tends to believe that superheroes exist in this world.
Let us set up some guidelines in order to reduce screen time. Children under age 2 should have no screen time. Limit screen time to 1 to 2 hrs a day for children over age 2. Choose a time for your whole family to unplug from the phone, TV and computer. When you all agree to put down your devices, it gives your family the chance to spend quality time together. There are tools you can use to filter or block unwanted content. You can even set daily screen time limits that can lock your children out of apps after they have reached a set amount of time.
These days it is easy for kids to become reliant on electronics for entertainment. Instead, encourage them to get involved in activities that do not require a screen like playing outside, reading a book or playing a board game. Do not allow electronic devices in your bedroom.
If they are looking for a superhero, let them find it in you!!
Sampada Deshpande Teacher,
Lexicon Kids Vishrantwadi.