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Why we should be setting screen time limitations for children

Staring at a tablet, a young boy amuses himself by playing with a mobile device. Children at such a young age can potentially be harmed physically, mentally, socially, and cognitively by too much screen time.

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Staring at a tablet, a young boy amuses himself by playing with a mobile device. Children at such a young age can potentially be harmed physically, mentally, socially, and cognitively by too much screen time.

Justine Hooker, Staff Reporter

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 There is no question that our current society has evolved around technology. Advances in technology have made life easier. Tasks can be done quickly, communication is faster, and everything is accessible with one click. While all of this is beneficial and useful, children are seen with a phone or device in their hands more than ever. Yes, educational games and stimulation are totally acceptable, but the problem lies with the fact that children are being affected negatively by the overuse of technology. Social, cognitive, mental and physical problems arise from too much screen time. Sophomore Sayde Friedman said, “I believe technology gives us a lot of opportunities that we didn’t have before, both in communication and in education. However, it can also be harming when we prefer to use our technology to communicate with our peers, over face-to-face conversations. I believe face-to-face conversations are an important aspect of us as people and our intelligence.”

 A report by Common Sense Media showed that in 2011, ten percent of children ages two and younger have used a mobile device. That number rose to thirty-eight percent in 2013. Children at such a young age do not have fully developed brains yet. The earliest years of life are vital when it comes to proper brain development. Children are seen with devices in multiple places: in grocery stores, at restaurants, the dinner table at home, and at church. Today, everyone you know has mobile devices, and now so do kids. If one child has a device, then some parents feel the need to give their own child a device so they do not make their child feel left out. How funny that a five year old knows more about a smartphone than a sixty-year-old. It may be hard to cut down on screen time, but there are consequences if parents do not.

 Too much screen time can cause children to have sleep deprivation, obesity and vision problems in the future. The blue light emitted from screens creates a struggle for the body to go bed, shaving off important hours that children could be asleep. Adults need about six to eight hours of sleep, while children need about ten to twelve. Technology is taking up the time for physical activity too. Adolescents are playing video games when they could be playing at the park. In addition, looking at screens for too long can cause eye strain and future vision problems. All of these are concerns for our youth, but none more important than cognitive learning. Psychology Today says that smartphones can make kids lazy as they are not thinking on their own, which causes cognitive skills to weaken.

 All we want is the best for our future generation and youth. Technology is an amazing concept that should not be taken for granted, but we have to realize that too much can cause harm. Setting limits and learning more about the effects of screen time can help nudge children in the right direction.

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Why we should be setting screen time limitations for children