New Guidelines for Raising Connected Kids

I count myself lucky to have grown in an era where technology hadn’t encroached into our lives. I grew up in an era where the only games we played were the basketball games in the neighborhood and maybe hide and seek with a couple of friends. I grew up in an era where phones were so scarce that even our parent didn’t own one. Television was still a luxury back then and we didn’t spend much time glued to the screen. This meant that I had all the time in the world to take part in various social activities and play as much as I could. I made friends who I still talk to today. Fast forward to life today, and everything is different…

The modern era

Children of today have been brought up in an era dominated by technology and everything digital. This is an era where all the games have been converted into programs and software and all a kid needs to have some fun, is an ipad or a gaming console. Children as young as 4 years old own phones and can comfortably use computers. Although this is part of the modern technology revolution, it has caused more harm than good in very many ways.

Have you ever as a parent sat down and asked yourself the amount of time you are allowing your kids to use their i-pads, phones and gaming consoles? Well, the modern sedentary lifestyles have made us forget our primary responsibilities of taking care of our children. We are all guilty of giving our children and siblings too much time to do whatever they want and this is not the wisest thing. So, how much screen time if OK? Here is a new doctor’s guideline for raising connected kids and socially active.

The age counts a lot

The number of hours considered being ok by doctors for children to watch and play with their mobile devices varies with the age of the children. This means that the younger the children are, the less amount of screen time they should be getting. Research shows that too much screen time and playing on mobile devices hinders the proper brain development and affects the social life of the growing children. The research also suggests that too much screen time has an effect on the eyes and is the leading cause of ocular migraine among growing children. The sounds and images that the children interact with on a daily basis can cause distress to then and affect their fundamental growth. We all know how uncensored content is going viral on various social media and messaging platforms, don’t we? Professional Doctors therefore came up with a logical and ideal chart to relate the number of hours a child should be allowed to spend on the television or ipad with their age. Here is a quick breakdown for the various age groups;

Children who are 18 months or younger- NO SCREEN TIME AT ALL

Yes, if you have infants and children under 18 months old, you should never let them use phones, ipads or watch television. Screen time for such young individuals has been found to affect their growth and development. Just play with them instead and introduce them to constructive things like reading books.

Children 2-5 years of age- An hour or so a day

These is the period when a child starts discovering the environment around. This is the best time therefore, to introduce your baby to constructive things like playing with friends, reading books and engaging in creative activities. This according to the research, is the best time for children to start embracing technology in their lives- ironic, isn’t it? Well, it is the best to teach your kids to use various electronics around the house but limit their usage and screen time to an hour or so. They should only be watching age-appropriate and educational TV programs and perhaps play educative games on their phones.

Children 6 years and older-Other things first, then screen time later

At this point in life, the child has understood various components and using the devices around the house. At this point, they are very curious and will want to explore and try new things. They will therefore tend to spend too much time either playing games or watching certain TV programs. As a parent, you should make sure that you instill discipline in them. Make it habitual for them to complete their assignments, eat their supper and do everything else required of them before they can sit down and start using their devices or watching TV.

Teens – Encourage physical activity and engaging in social activities

Teenagers, can be quite rebellious and controlling them is a bit hard. This means that they will always end up having as much time as they want with their devices. As a parent, you should try and encourage them to use their devices wisely and make time for social and physical activities. They need to learn and understand the importance of interactions and remaining fit from an early age.