Screen Addiction Rising Among Children

Televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers and laptops can be found throughout the house, in the car and at the store. These devices have been integrated into our daily lives for both professional and personal use. Screens have become compact, connected and interactive and have been proliferated throughout the mainstream as an innovative revolution in how we connect and collaborate with others. For decades, the television has reigned supreme in its ability to captivate the attention of youngsters to keep them engaged so that the parents can focus on important tasks without worrying about too much chaos.

It is estimated that children spend 8 hours or more each day in front of some sort of screen. Children use computers to chat or surf the web, televisions for watching movies, shows and to play video games, while smartphones and tablets provide portable entertainment of all forms anywhere the child goes. Parents are instinctively inclined to hand their child a smartphone to keep them occupied at times when they might be considered disruptive.

A child will almost immediately quiet down when given a tablet or smartphone. Smart devices are easy to use and provide many forms of entertainment in a small package. Parents see them as new forms of babysitters and children begin to look for screens to engage at any sign of boredom. The problem is not finding the right balance between screen time and face-to-face time. Knowing how to use a computer or smartphone are becoming basic requirements for many jobs, but knowing how to put technology down at the right times is also an important skill to have.

Screen addiction has been a problem for many years now. Addiction to smartphones, computers, video games and television have serious consequences. Children who are fascinated and regularly exposed to violence or pornography will develop deviant tendencies. There are children who will ignore eating, bathing and socializing with others in lieu of their screen addiction. A full blown Internet or gaming addict will become anxious or outraged if forced to go without their technology of choice for more than a few hours. The government of China has classified Internet addiction as a medical disorder, as showcased in a 2013 film, Web Junkie.

If you are concerned that your child may be getting too much screen time, then follow these tips to make sure your teen has the right groundwork to have a healthy relationship with their peers and their screen time.

First, set a good example.

Kids are more observant than they are often given credit for. Children pay attention to everything their parents do. By the age of 3, most kids these days have either played with a toy phone or have used their parents smartphone or tablet. If they see their Mom or Dad constantly on a phone, at a computer or watching television, then they will begin to accept that behavior as normal. Parents can set the example by only watching television at certain times of day, being respectful not to overuse a phone in public, and by not openly viewing vulgar or offensive content which would be inappropriate for younger eyes.

Next, set some guidelines.

For older children, it helps to have a written set of rules to refer to when certain behaviors are known to cause problems. Using televisions, computers and smartphones at night will cause children to lose sleep  so it is a good idea to limit the times and the amount of time children can use screens. Children should understand proper etiquette when using smartphones or tablets in public and recognize that they should steer away from activities which would be deemed inappropriate. Setting up a usage agreement  for phones, computers and Internet access can teach kids the importance of contracts and being held accountable for fulfilling contracts.

Monitor their activities.

Children don’t supervise themselves. If they want something bad enough, they will do their best to get away with whatever it is they want to do. It is up to the parents to notice when things are getting out of hand and provide solutions for obstacles that present themselves. Mobile Spy provides extensive monitoring capabilities for parents to review GPS logs, text messages, websites visited, applications used, calls made, address books, memos, social media activities and more. By knowing what the children are doing with smartphones or tablets, it will be easy to recognize when improvements can be made with when the devices are being used and how they are being used.

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