One of our therapists did a lot of research on Limiting Screen Time and we wanted this to be a resource for you on our blog that you can come and pull from as needed. There was a lot of content so we decided to divide it up into 3 parts. Enjoy!
What are the negative effects of screen time?
Excessive screen time has shown to have negative effects on children’s sleep, academic performance, “physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016). Screen time can also have negative effects on a child’s neurocognitive functioning. This includes “attention, executive functioning, language, memory, learning, social perception, and visuospatial processing” (Rosenqvist, Lahti-Nuuttila, Holdnack, Kemp, & Laasonen, 2016). For young children, TV viewing 2 or more hours per day has shown to have negative relations with all of the previous domains and is thought to “induce ADHD-type behavior” (Rosenqvist et. al., 2016). Increased TV watching has been associated with worse performance on visuoconstructional and visuospatial tasks. This includes the visual organization of objects, the creation of designs, and the spatial relation of objects comprising width, length, and depth. It is thought that these abilities are not acquired or enhanced due to too much time spent watching TV and a lack of practicing these skills. Excessive TV viewing is also associated with poorer academic performance. “It has been suggested that watching TV is a passive activity that does not require mental energy, which in turn may lead to the child devoting low amounts of effort into other activities, as well” (Rosenquivst et al., 2016).
How is screen time affecting my child’s sleep?
Computers, gaming systems, and TVs are becoming more present in children’s bedrooms and have been directly associated with sleep disturbance due to excessive use. Excessive media use can lead to less efficient sleep which is causal for increased levels of fatigue throughout the day, decreased verbal memory performance, and poor school performance. Research shows that “children who spent less time on entertainment media scored higher on their perception of scholastic competence than the children who spent more time” (Tenson & Mathias, 2014).
As a caregiver, you can help to improve your child’s academic performance by ensuring your child a good night’s sleep. This can be accomplished by reducing the screen viewing time allotted each day, reduction of evening screen-times, and removing media from the bedroom.