Everywhere I go, parents, teachers, even young people themselves complain of a growing concern about our screen-focused lives. We’re spending more time staring at screens and less time in the wonders of nature, in conversation with friends, in valuable silent contemplation and engaged with others in community or civic activity. It’s not good on many fronts. I’m not saying we should chuck our screens forever, but we need a healthier balance.” Annie Leonard, Co-Founder Story of Stuff Project

As I was sitting in my tiny airplane seat waiting for departure, I perused the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me. After all, I had to turn my cell phone and tablet to airplane mode. In fact, I had to put them away for take off. What in the world was I supposed to do with my idle time?

While perusing the magazine, I came across the following: “You may have suspected as much, but you and your smartphone are in a pretty ugly codependent relationship.” What? Really?

According to Russell Clayton, a Ph.D. Student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, we’re so attached to our iPhones that being away from them can cause a form of separation anxiety with real-word physiological and cognitive consequences. In a study he conducted, adults’ heart rate and blood pressure rose when their cell phones were taken away from them. He concluded that people view their phones as an extension of themselves.

I’m appalled that we’ve let ourselves come to this. I don’t want to believe that we are this obsessed with our little screens, but I think it is true. I’ve experienced adults freaking out when they can’t find their phones. What message are we sending our children?screen time

I admit that I am a minority on this topic because I don’t freak out at losing my phone. I’m not overly obsessed with checking it, but I do depend on it entertaining me and keeping me connected to the world more than I’d like it to concede.

I used to be an anti-screen time mom. I soon realized that it is nearly impossible to stay that way.

Screens are everywhere. It is a part of our cultural fiber nowadays.

So how did I become a pro- screen time mom? Well, I remembered the wise words of my dad: Keep everything in life in balance, moderation. I came to the conclusion that his advice for life applies to screen time too. So I set up screen time guidelines for my family.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average child spends about seven hours a day looking at screens be it video games, computer, cell phone, tablet, or television. Yikes! That is not moderation. Moderation, according to A.A.P., is two hours a day.

As you think about how screen time affects your family and how you will incorporate screens or not into your family, please remember that screen time has good and bad outcomes.

Good- With moderation, there are many benefits to screen time

Screen time is so important to my youngest son that he wrote a persuasive essay on the topic. I must say that I learned some new benefits. They are as follows:

  • Video games have been shown to have many positive effects on brain power

    Studies suggest that, depending on the type of game, video games can also increase scores on measures of working memory (the ability to hold several items of information in mind at once), critical thinking, and problem solving.[2]

  • Increased visual-spatial ability

  • Increased problem solving ability and critical thinking skills

  • Self direction

    In a world dominated by decisions that adults make for kids, during screen time, they get to make their own decisions.

  • Educational

    There are many educational web sites and apps available. Choose those for screen time.

  • Internet tools, texting, and shared video games are easy and fun ways to socialize and communicatescreen time

Bad- Screen time has many negative effects on children.

  • For children ages birth to 5, doesn’t allow the synapses to be stimulated in the brain; thus, they die.
  • Decreases face-to-face, intimate communication which is essential for emotional stability

  • Screen addiction

  • Sleep disorders

  • Can cause Attention Deficit Disorder

    According to research, studies found out children who exceed the two hours per day of screen time are one and one-half to two times more likely to encounter attention problems in school.

  • Can lead to obesity

  • Can cause children to exhibit aggressive behavior (kids who view violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior)

  • Too much screen time impairs academic performance

  • Less time for free play

“Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn’t looking down at a device in their hands? We’ve become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture, the people right in front of us.” Regina Brett

I’d like to challenge you to try a screen free week.  Enjoy the benefits of your family reconnecting with each other by playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and conversing. After discovering the rich benefits of your time together, you may not want to go back to screens again.

screen time for kids


Here is an amazing infographic that explains the pros and cons of screen time.http://www.cryobank.com/childrens-media-device-usage.html 

What are your thoughts on screen time? What does screen time look like in your family?

Let’s make a positive difference~ one word at a time. :)


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Source: Nicholas Drenzo- hemispheremagazine.com 2. psychologytoday.com

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