Forty-five percent of children younger than 8 and 80% of those ages 14 to 15 exceeded the recommended screen time for electronic devices (less than 2 hours per day), an Australian study in BMC Public Health indicated. Researchers also found girls were more likely than boys to spend more time watching television, surfing the net and using social media according to a recent article from DailyRX.com. Studies have found that, when children spend prolonged lengths of time staring into screens, their physical and mental health may suffer. For instance, increased TV viewing over time has been linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety among teen girls.
People who work with children — parents, teachers, pediatricians, Sunday school teachers — are all uniformly observing that kids have shorter attention spans, require large amounts of super sensory input to hold attention, struggle with restlessness and distractability more, have very little patience, have difficult time sitting quietly and have less developed social and emotional coping skills that come from working with lots of live people. We can wait for a scientific study to prove it or we can as parents recognize the impact this new lifestyle is having on our children in an everyday manner and decide if this is the new type of kid we want to raise.
So, parents, what should we do? Take your kids outside in nature, go hiking or biking, or go to a park to get some fresh air and quality family time. Play sports and play games with your kids. Give teenagers gadget breaks. Do not bring gadgets to the dinner table, when playing outside or in nature. Parents have to lead by example. If they always look at their phone when with their children, then that is what their kids will do.