My biggest parental challenge is curbing my 12-year-old twin boys’ daily tablet, smartphone and electronic device play time. So when I recently discovered them sneaking their handheld gaming systems into the car for a short drive to soccer practice, I couldn’t help but wonder, are my kids addicted to their screens?
According to an article in Today’s Parent, my boys are showing a worrying number of signs that screen time is tipping over into an all-consuming activity. Here are the top nine signs that your kids might be addicted to screen time:
- Having a meltdown when screen time is limited or taken away
- Showing a loss of interest in other activities
- Thoughts are preoccupied with playing games or watching videos
- It’s interfering with socializing
- Causes family discord
- Being deceptive about usage
- Tolerance is increasing and playing for longer periods
- Showing signs of withdrawl such as anxiety and depression
- Playing elevates their mood
Research is now showing that too much screen time can lead to poor physical health, emotional well-being, as well as developmental and cognitive issues. Making new habits is not easy, but here as some small, realistic changes you can try at home to help your little ones reduce their screen time:
- Disconnect video game consoles periodically and play a good old fashioned board or card game.
- Get out of the comfort zone of home and do some outdoor chores, grocery shop or trip to a community centre.
- Instead of lying on the couch watching TV, sit and talk about your day, or better yet, prepare a meal together or some other family activity.
Does my family meet the recommended screen time limit of less than 2-hours a day? Often not. But it’s a lot less time than before, and we’re going to continue finding ways to reduce that time.
Stay tuned here for more updates and tips! Plus, learn more about Power Off and Play here!