In today’s media-driven world, technology is playing a larger role in parenting techniques around the world. Screens are useful to keep young children occupied while parents deal with their other needs.
On average, UK children aged between 5-16 years spend a total of 6.3 hours of screen time per day. This raises the question of how much screen time is too much screen time for a child and the impact of technology on their cognitive development.
Finding that sweet spot between technology and healthy child development not only helps children learn but also improves their social skills.
What Are The Benefits Of Technology?
The right kind of technology and games can aid a child’s learning and skills, including motor skills, letter and number recognition, and eye-hand coordination. Enhanced learning apps and online resources are vast so you can tailor your child’s cognitive learning according to their specific needs. Meaningful resources can enrich your child’s screen time with engaging characters and platforms.
What Are The Drawbacks And Concerns Of Technology?
While there is no denying that it has made our lives easier in some respects, there are some drawbacks to our reliance on technology. Excessive screen time is associated with sleep distribution, delayed language development and social skills, emotional intelligence, and face-to-face communication.
This is not to mention the risk of cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content. Also, younger children learn the most from human interaction and screens can hijack their attention spans.
How To Balance Technology Use As A Parent?
There is no need to completely cut technology out of your child’s life completely, however, mastering a healthy balance is key to making screentime meaningful and improving their cognitive skills.
Set Clear Boundaries
Allocating specific times during the day or week for technology use gives children a clear boundary as to when they are allowed to use their screens. This kind of structure will cut down requests for unnecessary screen time and help children know what to expect for the rest of their day.
Create New Interests
Children are often captivated by their screens, but you can divert this attention elsewhere by creating new interests. This could be by engaging them in an outdoor activity or physical play. While buying new toys regularly may not be an option for every family, businesses like Smyths Toys offer NHS discounts and other deals for purchasing mentally stimulating toys and games.
In the time you allocate for screen play, choose appropriate content that is educational and interactive. This helps children make the most of their screen time and ensures it is meaningful.
Clear and open communication helps you have an open dialogue with children. This empowers them to make informed decisions and develop their independence off-screen.