Avoiding screen addiction in children

Screen addiction in children is a growing concern for parents and educators alike, as the overuse of electronic devices can negatively impact their physical and mental health, brain development, social skills, and academic performance. Here are five effective ways to avoid screen addiction for children:

  1. Hold off on introducing digital tools until age 2: There is a growing consensus among experts that children under the age of 2 should not be exposed to screens at all, and that children between the ages of 2 and 5 should have very limited screen time, if any at all. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children aged 18 to 24 months should avoid all screens except for video chatting.
  2. Set limits on screen time: Set clear and consistent rules around screen time for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 2 to 5 years old have no more than one hour of screen time per day, and children aged 6 years and older should have consistent limits on the amount of time they spend on electronic devices.
  3. Encourage physical/alternative activities: Encourage your child to engage in physical activities such as sports, dance, or outdoor play. This will not only help reduce screen time but also promote their physical health and overall well-being. Also, encourage your child to engage in alternative activities such as reading, drawing, playing board games, or spending time with friends. Providing alternative activities can help your child develop new skills and interests while reducing their dependence on electronic devices.
  4. Model healthy screen habits: Children often learn by example, so it’s important to model healthy screen habits yourself. This means setting your own limits on screen time, avoiding screens during meals and before bedtime, and engaging in alternative activities.
  5. Create screen-free zones: Designate specific areas in your home as screen-free zones, such as the dining room, bedrooms, or play areas. This will help create a physical separation between your child and their electronic devices, making it easier to disconnect and engage in other activities.

WHO emphasizes that the quality of screen time is important, and parents should prioritize activities that promote learning, social interaction, and physical activity, such as playing games, reading books, or engaging in outdoor activities.

By setting clear limits, encouraging physical activity, providing alternative activities, modeling healthy habits, and creating screen-free zones, you can help your child avoid screen addiction and develop healthy habits for life.

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