In the digital age, it becomes more and more complicated to “dose” the use of smartphone, computer and tablet screens by children and adolescents. Therefore, the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) has launched a manual to better guide families about the risks of excessive technology in childhood. Check out the recommendations of the research: Less screens, more health!
For the entity, which represents more than 25 thousand doctors in the country, the matter is urgent! According to the manual, the excessive use of screens in childhood indicates negative consequences, such as mental health disorders, delays in language development and low school performance.
Less screens, more health
It is noted that more and more children, at earlier ages, have had easy access to smartphones, computers and tablets with the aim of making the “child quiet” (known as passive distraction).
Whether at home, restaurants, buses or cars, the goal is to keep the little one entertained and distracted. This mistake is very frequent, especially in early childhood. It is less and less common to see children playing, interacting with each other or with the world around them.
This is highly detrimental to child development because in the first thousand days of life, the brain goes through a unique period of maturation, and the lack of ‘real’ stimuli can be missed and cause the development of speech and language to be delayed.
Use of screens interferes with children’s sleep quality
The brightness of the screens, due to the blue light waveband present in most electronic devices, also contributes to the blocking of melatonin and thus interfering in the quality of sleep, another factor that directly influences growth in the first years of life.
Children who are exposed to the use of screens for a long time have more difficult to sleep and maintain the quality of sleep at night, with increased nightmares and night terrors. Upon waking up, an increase in daytime sleepiness, memory and concentration problems during learning, with decreased school performance and association with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, points out the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics manual.
That’s why, between the ages of two and five, parents should limit screen time to a maximum of one hour per day, always accompanied. From six to ten, it is up to two hours a day, with supervision. For teenagers from 11 to 18 years old, the limit is up to three hours of exposure to smartphones and video games.
- Do not allow children and adolescents to be isolated in rooms with TV, computer, tablet or mobile phone, but encourage use in common areas of the house.
- For all ages, it is not recommended to use screens during meals, and they should be turned off between one and two hours before bedtime.
- Whenever possible, offer alternatives of activities in the offline world, such as outdoor exercises, sports and contact with nature.
- Do not post pictures of minors on public social networks.
- Create rules for the use of equipment that include moments of disconnection and family interaction.
- Use filters and passwords to restrict the content according to the age of each family member.
- Schools should encourage digital literacy of children and parents by teaching about ethical rules, respect and safety.
Warning: parents should also pay attention to their own behavior
How do you dose the use of screens to children when the parents themselves are often unaware of the necessary balance? Due to the rush of everyday life, the ease of staying connected with work, being in touch with friends and also with the distractions of social networks, the new media ‘fill vacuums’ such as idleness, boredom or need for entertainment. Parents end up not …slipping out of their own cell phones.
This condition causes the child to feel a lack of attention and affection. Beware!
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