7 Signs Your Child is Overexposed to Screens

March 26, 2024
Diane Almanzor

Have you caught your kid zoning out a bit more than usual, or maybe they're quieter at dinner these days? These little signs might suggest our kids are soaking up a bit too much screen time. 

These days, 87% of children spend considerably more time on screens than the American Pediatric Academy recommends. That's not just a number; it's a wake-up call for us parents to peek over their shoulders a bit more often.

So, here we are, breaking down those stealthy red flags that whisper (or sometimes shout) our kids might be overdoing it with screens. And don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. We've got some friendly, doable advice on what we can do next. 

1. Reduced Physical Activity

Let's talk about something we all know but might not always tackle head-on: our kids and their screen time. It's no secret that screens can be pretty captivating, and sometimes, that means less time spent moving around.

The University of Southern Denmark offers some insight that might nudge us into action. They found that cutting back a bit on screen time could mean kids are 45 minutes more active every day. That's a whole lot of extra playtime just by switching off devices for a while.

So, what if we get back to basics with some fun outdoor activities? A trip to the park, a quick soccer game in the backyard, or just a casual walk can make a big difference. It's all about making movement a fun part of their day. After all, playing and being active should be a joyful part of growing up.

2. Disrupted Sleep Patterns

Screen usage has been associated with delayed bedtime, decreased total sleep time, psychological stimulation, light exposure, and higher physiological alertness, all of which contribute to disrupted sleep patterns.

Screens seem to sneak into bedtime routines. But that blue light from devices is really not helping our little ones (or us!) get the quality sleep needed. 

So, how about imposing a screen curfew? An hour before bedtime, we switch to books or maybe some quiet family time. Let's help them wind down the natural way. Better sleep for them, better peace of mind for us.

3. Poor Social Skills

Remember playdates? Real, face-to-face playdates. It seems like screens are stealing some of those precious social moments. Kids need to chat, laugh, and learn together—in person.

Why not bring it back? Let's pencil in more playdates, host family game nights, or whatever gets those real-life chats flowing. It's all about beefing up those human connections. Plus, let's be honest, it's a blast for us too!

4. Declining Academic Performance

A meta-analysis of 30 studies indicated that children who watched TV or played video games for more than two hours daily had a decline in academic performance.

It's tough when screens call their names louder than math problems. But, no stress. The solution is simple—boundaries. Seriously, laying down some screen time rules during homework time can be a game-changer.

Maybe mix in some educational tech too. There are some great apps and tools out there that can make learning fun. Keep it balanced. After all, we're aiming for a happy medium that keeps them on top of their game in class and ready to conquer the world.

Increased Irritability or Mood Swings

Ever found yourself in a bit of a screen-time standoff with your child? It happens, and things can get pretty heated. Excessive screen time can really mess with their moods, leaving our kids either way too wired or just plain gloomy. 

So, how about we dial down the digital and crank up the creativity? 

Whether it's whipping up something in the kitchen, unleashing their inner artist, or engaging in some good old-fashioned play, it's all about trading those hours behind the screen for moments filled with laughter and joy. Let's make room for more fun, less screens, and loads of happy memories.

5. Eye Strain and Headaches

Spending too much time glued to screens is turning out to be quite the eye-opener—and not in a good way. It's putting a strain on those precious peepers and those nagging headaches? They're telling us it's time to press the pause button.

Did you know, according to the American Optometric Association, a whopping 80% of kids between 10 to 17 years old have experienced symptoms like blurred vision, eye burning, itching, and fatigue after diving into the digital world? It's a clear signal we need to dial back and introduce some eye-friendly practices.

Why not mix in some eye break reminders or fun vision exercises? Tinkering with screen settings to make them more eye-friendly could also be a game-changer. Our goal? To ensure those young eyes stay bright, healthy, and happy.

6. Neglect of Hobbies and Interests

Remember the days when hobbies weren't all about screens? It's high time we bring that era back. It's easy for screens to dominate our time, causing those unique hobbies and passions to fade into the background.

Why not carve out some dedicated screen-free time to rediscover those activities? Whether it's painting, biking, or anything else that sparks joy, it's about rekindling those interests. Let's enrich our lives with experiences that go beyond pixels.

7. Breaking the Screen Spell: Practical  Guide for Parents

We've noticed it, right? The endless scrolling, the glued eyes to screens. Now comes the question: what do we do about it? The answer lies in taking those small yet impactful steps as a team. It's about setting screen boundaries, exploring engaging alternatives, and having open conversations about the reasons behind these choices.

And we've got to walk the talk. Our digital habits set the tone. It's a team effort, aiming for that sweet spot of balance.

While technology is undeniably woven into the fabric of our lives, it shouldn't dictate every moment. It should enhance rather than detract from what matters most—family time, health, and true happiness.

If you notice your kids' tell-tale signs of screen overload, Aro is here to help. We help foster healthier tech habits and empower families to pursue the ideal tech-life harmony for richer, screen-free experiences.

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