Updated: Jan 21, 2019
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YIKES: Screen Time Is Making Your Kids Moody and Insane
by Christine Schoenwald
Is it time for a digital detox for your kid?
The average child spends 7 hours a day looking at a screen, such as a video game, computer, cell phone, or television. That's a huge amount of time, especially when the recommended amount is 2 hours a day.
In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley— author of the book Reset Your Child's Brain— talks about how too much screen time can make a child or teen become both wired and tired. The child becomes agitated, and at the same time exhausted because of their screen time addiction, and they suffer academically, socially, and physically.
Too much screen time can affect your child in these 5 ways:
1 They can't sleep at night.Two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness can suppress melatonin, which is a key hormone in the body's clock. Once the body's clock is off, all kinds of other unhealthy reactions can occur: hormone imbalance and brain inflammation. Being in a highly aroused state prevents deep sleep, and deep sleep helps us to heal.
2 They need more stimulationto experience pleasure.Gaming releases a lot of feel-good chemicals and the reward pathways become less sensitive. Like with any addiction, the electronic addict gets to the point where they're spending more time trying to chase that high.
3 They can develop attention problems.Kids who are addicted to their screens often can't focus on other activities like going outside or to the movies. They're biding their time until they can get back to their devices.
4 They experience mood swings.If you express concern that they're spending too much time looking at stuff on their phone, they can become defensive. If you try to take away their phone or limit their time, they'll become belligerent and hostile.
5 They can develop obesity.If a child is constantly sitting and barely moving, they're not being physically active and aren't burning any calories. They may also be making quick unhealthy food choices.
Sometimes the symptoms of spending too much time in front of the screen can be misinterpreted as depression, bipolar disorder, orADHD, but treatments for those mental health diagnoses (such as medication, therapy and other treatments) won't work very well.