You’ve probably seen or experienced the symptoms of too much screen time. Blurry eyes, a muddled mind, difficulty with focus, trouble stopping the screens and behaviors when asked to stop…But what are others experiencing when it comes to screen time overload? How do screens really impact our kids? And, exactly how much screen time is too much? Is it really that bad if our kids watch movies and play video games all summer? Today, I’m detailing all about what the research tells us about screens, and what evidence we have on the symptoms of screen use in children and teenagers.
This blog post is part of a short series I’m sharing on screens and the devastating impact that they have on our children. I’m very excited to share with you a powerful tool that we can use to make a positive change in our kids. One that can impact our community and our children’s futures.
Average Screen Time
We know first hand that children today are using screens more and more. Whether it’s online learning, entertainment apps and games, watching videos, or playing with friends, screens are a part of our kids’ daily lives. Unlike kids of just a few years ago, children today have online learning, internet-based supplemental activities, learning apps, and screen-based reading on phones and tablets.
With the sudden onset of distance learning and telehealth, kids are on screens, tablets, phones, and computers more now then ever before. Online classroom lessons and therapy sessions are just one more reason for more screen hours.
“Play” is often screen-based: interactive video games with friends, gaming apps, messaging, and videos is done for entertainment. Children and families are tied to devices to manage the home and activity schedules and to communicate with coworkers, friends, family, teachers, and coaches.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children ages eight to 10 spend an average of six hours per day in front of a screen, kids ages 11 to 14 spend an average of nine hours per day in front of a screen, and youth ages 15 to 18 spend an average of seven-and-a-half hours per day in front of a screen.
According to the one study, children aged 8-18 spend and average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day. That is a startling number!
But, when you think about requirements for distance learning, video entertainment, communicating with friends and family, app usage, that number begins to make sense. All of the screen time throughout the day and evening hours adds up quickly.
According to the World Health Organization, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. Our kids are living sedentary lives and the adults in their lives are as well.
Children are spending more time in sedentary activity by using screens and less time in creative, active play that their bodies NEED to thrive and develop.
We also know that children under a certain age should not have access to screens. We know that kids need more active play and creative play that involves the senses. We know that our children need these things to regulate emotions, behaviors, and to give their nervous systems what they need to learn and develop. We’ve talked a lot on this space about wellness and well-being. We’ve discussed the balance of occupations. But, have you ever looked deeply into the research on screens?
Children as young as 2 years old have their own tablets. The average age of a child getting a smartphone is now 10.3 years old. This is astounding and gravely against recommended ages of screen time according to the American Academy of Pediatric Guidelines.
Too much screen time symptoms
The effects of screen time on children is showing up in the research. We are seeing astonishing symptoms of screen time in so many ways. These are just SOME of the symptoms and signs of screen overload:
- Impact on physical health
- Behavior Issues
- Poor posture
- Poor core strength
- Poor fine motor skills
- Increased frustration
- Poor ability to handle stress
- Poor endurance
- Mental health issues
- Impact on emotional health
- Decreased attention
- Decreased cognitive skills
- Overactive brain
- Poor ability to transition
- Addiction “state of being”
- Less self-control
Do these screen time symptoms sound familiar? Some of them probably do! But, it’s not just something that is in your mind when it comes to screens and foggy thoughts. These are the things we see when it comes to screen time. But what else is happening when screens take over the balance of play, physical activity, creative play, and imagination?
- Less family interaction
- More frustration
- More stress
- Poor ability to transition between tasks (stopping screen play and moving to a different task)
- Less creative play
- Less imagination play
- Less oppourtunities for communication and interaction
- Watning more and more screen time
- Lack of energy
- Poor motivation
- More distracted
- Posture issues
- Difficulty with pinch and grip strengthe and dexterity
- Eye tracking and shift difficulties
The list could go on and on! It’s the iceberg theory of behaviors, only it’s applied to screen time and over use.
There is research behind these common concerns. More on that in an upcoming blog post.
All of this information, including in-depth research review behind these symptoms of screen time, as well as HOW to make a difference when it comes to unbalanced screen time are available in the OT-created course, Digital Devastation Solutions.
How to balance screen time
We can do something. We can make a difference in our children and our future.
This doesn’t mean that we need to completely take screens away from our kids! It doesn’t mean that they can’t watch videos or play games with friends online. But, we can offer balance, and the activities their nervous systems need to empower sensory and regulation so learning, emotions, behaviors, and mental well-being flourishes.
What kids REALLY need, is balance. They need play to help develop their brains. They need play to create new neural connections in the brain. They need creative activities to build self-confidence, emotional well-being, and strategies to cope.
All of this information on the research being done on the impact of screens on development, is covered and explained in easy-to-understand language in the therapist-created course and 12-step program, Digital Devastation Solutions.
The practical strategies designed to balance screens with meaningful play are covered in Digital Devastation Solutions.
How to manage Screen time
There is a way to combat the requirements of online learning, distance schooling, social distancing, and the newest concerns of today. We can balance digital entertainment with the tools that kids need to flourish in emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
We can manage screen time in ways that make a true difference.
Digital Devastation Solutions is a tool created by an occupational therapist that can make a true impact on our kids. This course provides the means to balance screens while providing the framework to help kids thrive and master emotions, physical health, mental well-being. It is a formula for helping kids establish skills they need for executive functioning, learning, motor milestones, and so much more.
Digital Devastation Solutions is a way for families to balance excessive screen time use and improve their child’s development. The course covers everything you need to know about the astonishing research that’s been done on screen use in kids and gives a step-by-step plan.
The course offers actionable strategies to impact our kid’s nervous systems so they get the activity they need, and it explains this in a way that is easy to understand.
This course is a cost-effective way to get the research and understand it in a parent-friendly way. What’s more, you’ll be able to explain to others what the research tells us, so you can understand the impact screens are having on so many areas of development in children.
You’ll gain a knowledge of exactly what happens to the brain on screens. You’ll be able to use this information so you can give kids what they really need to grow and develop.
Digital Devastation Solutions is an informative course AND 12 Step Plan for raising a happy, healthy child in the digital age. Kids and families can use that 12 step solution to balance screen time in this new COVID era.
Now is the time to battle the beast of screen time overload. There are easy action steps that you can do to balance out the excessive screen time kids are experiencing due to mandatory online schooling. You can use this information and step-by-step plan to improve your child’s readiness for school in the fall.
Digital Devastation Solutions can be purchased here for just $29.
This is an investment in your family and your child’s development and overall health and well being.
Resource for therapists Concerned about screen use in kids
Therapists: I fell in love with this program and am using it’s 12 step plan in my own family. This course, created by a pediatric occupational therapist is not only a powerful tool for you own family…it’s the potential to make an impact on kids in your community and practice.
Therapists can access a workshop and program that can be duplicated in your practice. You can use the workshop as a class for parents and share this powerful research and step-by-step program with those in your community.
Therapists will get:
- An already done for you marketing and education system. All you have to do is set up the class and then press play on the PowerPoint. It will come with a script so you will know exactly what to say. This will save you about 40 hours of time. (Value $4000)
- Parent handouts including: Screen Survey, Technology Agreement, When to Get Professional Help and Chores Chart by Age (Value $500)
- Marketing ideas and a Pre-Made flyer you can use to market your class (Value $300)
- Developmental Screening Form (Value $500)
- Access to a private Facebook group to share ideas and support
- Added Bonus when you Pre-Order “Quick Start Guide: The Step by Step Checklist to Set Up your First Class”
Click here to read more about Digital Destination Solutions Program for use in therapy sessions and practice.
>>Free Ways to Add Sensory Motor Activities to the Classroom
>>Scree Research Printable
>>Classroom Sensory Strategies Toolkit
>>Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Activities
>>Outdoor Sensory Diet Activities and Outdoor Challenges
>>School Sensory Checklist
>>How Play Builds Child Development Printable
When you purchase Digital Devastation Solutions through a link on this website, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your receipt and you will be sent this bonus pack.