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Is your child addicted to the screen? Six effective strategies for reducing screen time for children.

Regrettably, children today spend a lot of time watching television, gaming, and fidgeting with smartphones. Playing board games or outdoor activities, such as hide-and-seek, was formerly the norm for children’s entertainment. Compared with today’s children, who are more alone and inactive than in the past, children are happier, healthier, and have more friends. The overuse of contemporary technology is one of its causes. Limiting screen time for both you and your children can help your family as a whole and will help you raise children who are happy, social, active, and creative.

Healthcare professionals strongly advise against allowing children to use screens before they are two years old. Technology has several advantages, and children eventually need to learn how to use it. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain screen usage after the age of two to under one hour each day. Addiction is described as a recurring need to continue an activity or substance despite harmful repercussions.

Signs of screen addiction in children
  1. Your children are always seeking entertainment on gadgets, and activities such as playing outside and with toys do not appear to be exciting or fun.
  2. Sneaking extra time playing games on mobile phones when parents are busy.
  3. Temper tantrums, irritability, and crying when screen time is over.
  4. If they enjoy a particular show or game, they re-enact the characters and imitate them in daily activities.
  5. They enjoy the company of gadgets and characters on the shows they watch instead of the company of other children.
Effects of screen addiction
  1. Poor play and its effects on activity level.
  2. Increased obesity in children.
  3. Effects on cognition and brain development.
  4. Poor sleep quality.
  5. Imitation behavior.
Effective strategies to reduce screen time
  1. Create a timetable or plan of action for the family. The first step was to discuss choices with the entire family. Why do you want to cut down on screen time at home? During your discussion, we decided on rational goals. Toddlers: Babies and toddlers prioritize active playtime and reserve the use of educational media for young children 18 months and older. For children between the ages of two and five, screen usage should not exceed one hour per day, and parents should be involved so that their children can benefit from educational activities. Ages 6 years and older: Set clear limits on the amount of time spent and types of media used. Also, ensure that the media does not supplement healthy habits such as getting enough sleep and exercising. Youngsters aged 10–18 years should limit their daily screen use to no more than 1-2 hours.
  2. Plan a day to start your plan of action. Allow your child time to understand and prepare for a new schedule. When you begin your course of action, they stick to it. Do not give in to your child’s tantrums. Be patient and calm.
  3. Create activities you can do with your children instead of screen time. This makes the transition easier. Trying indoor and outdoor activities, parks, sports, crafts, etc.
  4. You must keep your gadgets out of sight. This is because out-of-sight means being out of mind. It is difficult for your child to see the gadgets in plain sight and not be able to use them. Children lack the impulse control to walk away from gadgets.
  5. Help your child play. Choosing a few toys and playing with them. Show imaginative play with the toys they have. Teach them how fun it can be to play with their toys and use their imaginations.
  6. Therefore, it is important to model this behavior. The children observe everything. As parents, if we tend to use screens around them, it beats the purpose or goal of breaking their addiction. Unplugged as a family and showing them there is much more than screens. Grasp the opportunity to spend quality time with their children and strengthen their relationships.
Ujwala Rajanikanth Reddy,

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