As the number of mobile devices per household grows, doctors and researchers are increasingly worried about the effect of screen time on our health. Based on the latest research, here are three easy screen rules your family can follow to be healthier.
1) Put smartphones to bed– in the living room
Between the blue light hindering serotonin production, the intense FOMO of today’s teens and tweens, and the increasing pressure to stay connected, mobile devices can really interfere with a family’s sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to a whole host of physical, mental, emotional, and familial issues including obesity, lower GPAs, depression, and incessant bickering (just kidding–mostly). Implementing a household internet smartphone curfew will help everyone unwind and get to bed on time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids shut off the screens an hour before bedtime, so the aforementioned blue light does not prevent kids from getting sleepy.
Oh, and don’t forget to remove all mobile devices from the bedrooms. Research suggests that the mere presence of a nearby smartphone, even powered down, prevents us from sleeping deeply and well.
2) Have time-outs for screens
As researchers have studied the effects of screen time, one thing has become especially clear. The effects of screen time come not just from the screens themselves, but what the screen time is replacing. In other words, when Johnny is playing Halo, he isn’t expanding his vocabulary by reading a book, outside soaking up vitamin D, or building physical endurance on the soccer field. When Susie is on Instagram at midnight, she’s not sleeping (see the first item above) or doing homework. Some parents use time-out to help young children re-balance their behavior and emotions. The principle can work even better for mobile devices and computers. Turning screens off at certain times like meal times, bedtime, and family time, or just whenever needed can help maintain a healthy screen/life balance.
3) Don’t let screen time be alone time
There’s one piece of internet safety advice that comes up over and over again: keep computers in a public space. With all the mobile devices these days, keeping anything with internet access out in the open is harder to pull off but still important. Teens’ and tweens’ impulse control is embryonic– very real, but insufficiently prepared to survive unsupported. Transparency is the support kids need. It will prevent cyberbullying, pornography addiction, sextortion, and “doing homework.” Turn off the internet when the parents are out of the house, and keep computers and mobile devices out of the bedrooms.
A healthy screen/life balance is possible! Let Clean Router help you set limits and keep your family balanced.