How much screen time would you guess kiddos have each and every day? According to Childwise, a market research firm, children aged 5 to 16 spend an average of 6.5 hours/day in front of a screen compared with around 3 hours back in 1995. Does this concern you like it does me? I’m grateful for the following guest post–read on!
Back in the Day…
Though I’m loathe to admit it, I’m old enough (and have been for awhile) to tell stories that begin with, “When I was a kid…” but in this case it applies. I’m of the generation that didn’t start out with a tablet, cell phone etcetera before I started school but we had started hearing about those mystical devices by the time I graduated.
When I was a kid we had a house phone and a television that I had to walk up to and change the channels on. And, to put it in greater perspective for you – we only had five channels. Oh, the horror, lol!
If you wanted to record a song you heard on the radio, you had to have your blank cassette prepped and ready to hit the “record” button and you probably still missed the first few notes. We had computers in elementary school, but there was a bank of about ten or twelve that were carted around to each class at a scheduled time and we had to take turns on it. Then we didn’t see them again until the following week.
Screen Here, Screen There…
Whereas now, screens are everywhere. So much so, that we notice their absence more than their abundance. Between televisions, cell phones, tablets and computers you can’t escape them. And while they certainly serve a purpose, it’s important that we are aware of the grasp they have on our daily lives and take steps to bring back a balance.
While researching for information on this post, I felt myself wince and cringe reading the statistics about screen time. As a still-relatively-new parent I look at subjects like this now with new eyes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rates of suicide, obesity and depression in youth skyrocket with more than three hours of screen time per day. That’s nothing! Children will get this exposure at school, let alone what they do before and after while at home or out other places.
Decide what’s best for your situation. A daily limit, a complete ban, or somewhere in between.
For all those off-screen hours you’ll find there’s a never-ending list of activities and experiences to do with your children. And yes, parents (sorry kids) chores can be included in that list.
Alternatives for screen time can include:
- Arts and Crafts
- All outdoor activities
- Musical development (instruments and/or singing)
- Board Games
- Helping prepare meals
- Puppet or Magic Shows
- Acting out a story
- Reading books – visit the Library
- Write a story
- Dance party!
- Play I Spy or License Plate Bingo during long road trips
- And many, many, more
About the Author:
Mia is a mom to twin boys who are growing up too fast! She runs Dreaming of Toys . In her free time (what is free time?) she likes to work on her website, learn how to blog, and sleep.