Children Are Spending Too Much Time On a Screen and Less Physical Activities
Purpose: The purpose of my speech is to influence the audience about the dangers of the spending too much time on a screen among children.
For some time now, society has debated whether it is good or not for children and teenagers to spend many hours in front of different types of screens. Today, I am going to talk about the disadvantages of spreading too much time on screen which contribute to less physical activities among the children. "Screen time" means activities performed on the screen, such as watching television, playing video games or working on a computer (Healy, Sean, et al). Screen time is a sedentary activity, which means that children are physically inactive while sitting. During the time in front of a screen, very little energy is consumed.
Children are spreading too much time on a screen and less physical activities which is the cause of many health and general school performance issues such as obesity, influence the sleep time of children and psychological difficulties, including hyperactivity and emotional and behavioural problems.
Do you know what are the causes that makes the children addicted to the screen? Why do children get hooked to the screens? For experts, games and social networks provide us with dopamine, known as the hormone of happiness. The rewards, the victories in the games or the "I like them in social networks gives us a wide sense of happiness. The ubiquity of the internet is changing the way we relate to each other, how we understand the world and how we modify it. For the first time in history, children and adolescents have powerful instruments in their hands that their elders do not always understand. A child is not ready to face the world, and even less to everyone. The main cause that makes the child addicted to the screen is intimacy among the family. Parents are providing less time to the children. Due to isolation and lack of attention, they are addicted to the screen. Some of the researches shows the statistics of using screen time among children.
According to Anderson, Daniel R., and Katherine G. Hanson, about 29% of children under the age of 12 months’ watch television and videos for average 90 minutes a day and 23% have a television in their room (Anderson, Daniel R., and Katherine G. Hanson). About 64% of children between 1 and 2 years old watch television and videos average more than 2 hours a day and 36% have a television in their room. A child aged 2 to 5 consumes at least 2.2 hours of screens per day. Depending on the studies, the number of hours can go up to 4.1 and 4.6 hours (Anderson, Daniel R., and Katherine G. Hanson).
Obesity Among Children
Screen time has been identified as a factor of obesity among children. Regardless of age, television in the rooms is linked to obesity. Screen time is a major risk factor for childhood obesity. Screen time is related to an increase in BMI in babies and children aged 3 to 5 years. The time spent in video games is related to being overweight (Cai, Yujun, Xihe Zhu, and Xueping Wu). Active video games do not significantly increase the level of physical activity among young people. You are surprised is not it?
Do you know that screens negatively influence children's sleep?
In children under the age of 3, the screen time is related to the disruption of the sleep cycle. Screen time among children aged 6 to 12 is related to sleep problems. Screens can limit learning in babies and young children. Screen time in children under 3 years old and related to language delays. The more a child gets entertained with screens, the less time he invests in creative games (the foundation of learning) and in constructive problem solving. The more the child consumes screens, the less he interacts with parents, even if the screens are consumed as a family.
Psychological Difficulties Among Children
In older children, excessive screen time is associated with an increase in psychological difficulties, including hyperactivity and emotional and behavioural problems, increased social difficulties and decreased academic performance (Domingues‐Montanari).
Difficulties in mathematics and general school performance
The consumption of screens at a young age is associated with difficulties in mathematics and general school performance, a reduction in the level of physical activity as well as victimization by classmates. Teenagers who have a television in their room have a reduced level of physical activity, poorer eating habits, lower school performance and fewer family meals (Dumuid, Dorothea, et al).
Information About Screens
Parents receive conflicting information about screens. About 56% of parents think that screens are good for their child's development. Interactive books, or e-books, are related to a poorer understanding of history and may be related to poorer literacy (Grossman, David C., et al). When they reach adolescence, more than two-thirds of young people do not get enough physical activity. Adolescents spend an average of eight hours a day seated and 11 to 15 years old watch television for almost three hours. We are well aware that such behaviour is likely to affect their physical health, but it also has other harmful effects. Research demonstrating the benefits of reducing screen time. Reduced screen time helps prevent childhood obesity. Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life can help decrease interest in screens later. Young people who spend less time in front of younger screens tend to be better at school, eat better, be more active and be more diligent in their homework.
Parents are often responsible, directly or indirectly, when children and adolescents engage in electronic media, playing video games or texting many hours a day instead of interacting with the real world and its people. Digital overload can undermine the minor's social, emotional and intellectual growth (Hale, Lauren, et al). For some children, reducing the time in front of a screen to 2 hours per day can be difficult, because television can make up a large part of their daily routine. However, you can help them by telling them how sedentary activities affect their general health. Young children should not have their own cell phones or televisions in their rooms.
Recommendation for parents
Children are becoming more and more addicted to dopamine, which provides us with the rewards we receive through social networks and games. Internet addiction is considered one of the most serious public health problems. Researchers analysed 15 adolescents with Internet addiction with a brain scan, and the result showed that the circulation of the fluids was altered. The communication area was severely restrained, and the problems of brain connections can cause symptoms reminiscent of autism or bipolar disorders. The good part is that there is no permanent damage to the brains of the exposed children (Dumuid, Dorothea, et al). It is enough to move the children away from the screens so that they recover their mental capacities. Children should be kept away from screens, they should be prevented from being overexposed, they should be offered other games, other stimuli, more human interaction. The most important thing is for parents to look and talk a lot with their young children.
To conclude my speech, I would like to say that children are spreading too much time on a screen and less physical activities which is a serious issue and need a serious consideration. We have to keep track of the time and then make sure that the agreed rules are respected. In terms of controlling the time children spend with digital media, it is the parents' responsibility. Because the devices can be switched on at any time, as a parent, their use should be monitored.
Anderson, Daniel R., and Katherine G. Hanson. "Screen media and parent–child interactions." Media exposure during infancy and early childhood. Springer, Cham, (2017). 173-194.
Cai, Yujun, Xihe Zhu, and Xueping Wu. "Overweight, obesity, and screen-time viewing among Chinese school-aged children: national prevalence estimates from the 2016 Physical Activity and Fitness in China—The Youth Study." Journal of Sport and Health Science 6.4 (2017): 404-409.
Domingues‐Montanari, Sophie. "Clinical and psychological effects of excessive screen time on children." Journal of paediatrics and child health 53.4 (2017): 333-338.
Dumuid, Dorothea, et al. "Health-related quality of life and lifestyle behavior clusters in school-aged children from 12 countries." The Journal of pediatrics 183 (2017): 178-183.
Dumuid, Dorothea, et al. "The adiposity of children is associated with their lifestyle behaviours: a cluster analysis of school‐aged children from 12 nations." Pediatric obesity 13.2 (2018): 111-119.
Grossman, David C., et al. "Screening for obesity in children and adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement." Jama 317.23 (2017): 2417-2426.
Healy, Sean, et al. "Physical activity, screen-time behavior, and obesity among 13-year olds in Ireland with and without autism spectrum disorder." Journal of autism and developmental disorders 47.1 (2017): 49-57.
Hale, Lauren, et al. "Youth screen media habits and sleep: Sleep-friendly screen behavior recommendations for clinicians, educators, and parents." Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America 27.2 (2018): 229-245.
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