Technology has advanced humans’ way of life. From eating, gathering information and even socializing. As phones and other electronic devices are invented, people can now easily meet other people without even going outside.

On the other hand, Internet addiction has become widely known. It is the belief that people can become very dependent on using the electronic devices that they lose control of their actions and suffer negative consequences.

Using the data gathered through surveys and interviews of 9 to 11 years old and their parents, the researchers of a study were able to find a connection between electronic media use and mental health. This means that “screen time” should also be considered in studying children’s mental health.

The number of devices and types of digital media has exploded over the past 20 years and continues to grow. Parents and professionals have many questions and concerns about the impact these devices have on children, and the best ways to manage them to keep kids safe and healthy.

While electronic devices and digital media have certainly improved our lives in many ways, research has shown that many problems can result from overexposure. We see first-hand the numerous mental and physical health issues that can happen to children, teens, and young adults when they spend too much time in front of screens, and too little time engaged with the people and activities around them. There are many areas of health and function that can be negatively impacted, and parents need to be aware of these problems in order to set expectations and boundaries that help kids develop healthy device habits.

Mental Health Problems
Many research studies have explored the connections between children’s use of electronic devices and mental health, and the results are clear: As use increases, so does the risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders, and suicidality. Teens who use electronic devices for more than two hours per day report significantly more mental health symptoms, increased psychological distress, and more suicidal ideation. Children using devices for more than 2 hours per day have increased risk of depression, and that risk rises as screen time increases. The lowest risk is observed in children who use devices for less than 1 hour daily. Studies have shown that children with ADHD symptoms spend more hours engaged in screen time activities than children without ADHD. As the amount of time spent with devices increases, so do symptoms of ADHD. There is clearly a connection!

Kids frequently attempt to reach out for support or validation on social media in the form of likes, clicks, or comments. When they do not get the feedback they are looking for, however, stress levels increase and the risk of depression rises. Fear of missing out on what others are saying and doing online also drives up stress and anxiety levels. Many feel a need to be constantly responsive to messages on social media, texts, and chats, which increases anxiety and also interrupts sleep-which further worsens anxiety symptoms.

Academic Problems and Learning Challenges

Increased time on electronic devices is also associated with poorer academic outcomes. The more time children spend consuming digital media, the less time they tend to spend reading. This has negative effects on learning as students progress through school. While many schools are moving to computerized instruction and tablet-based learning, the reality is that there is no strong research evidence to support that this is beneficial for students. It is problematic that students are now spending a significant amount of time in front of screens during the school day, which increases the overall amount of screen-time exposure each day and week–and there is no real evidence that this is helpful or supportive for learning!

If you weren’t already convinced that overuse of electronic devices can cause problems for kids, I hope this information has improved your awareness of the issue. Most parents we see don’t understand the direct connection between electronics use and their child’s mood, attention, anxiety, hyperactivity, and behaviour issues. There are many simple strategies and expectations parents can implement to reduce these problems, including:

Reduce electronics use before bedtime.

Avoid electronics in kids’ bedrooms.

Spend less time overall on devices.

Take movement breaks periodically to avoid sitting for too long.

Monitor your child’s Internet use and social media accounts.

Look at the content and digital books together with young children.

Make sure time is spent on developmentally appropriate activities such as coloring, playing with toys, socializing with friends, doing outdoor activities, etc.

Avoid holding devices close to the head for long periods of time.

Make sure that kids have other interests and activities beyond screen time.

Hope you found this article useful!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *