With the events of the pandemic and transformation into working from home, so many of us are turning to our phones and Ipads. Studies recently have even shown that many young adults wish their parents had restricted their screentime growing up.
Our recent launch of the Galaxy Light Projector was designed to help kids wind down and fall asleep at night. So, we thought we’d do some research to find out how bad screentime really is for kids and the type of effects this could have on their brain and any long-term effects.
This might come as a surprise for many parents as the word addiction is usually related to alcohol or drugs. However, it may come as a surprise that all of these things have something in common with increased screentime and it is related to a chemical released in our brains called dopamine. When this chemical is released, it makes us feel happier and unsurprisingly makes us want more of it. It’s the reason why you may click on one video on Youtube and end up still binging on there an hour later.
2. Reduced Social and Emotional Development
Studies have shown that with increased time on screens, there are clear patterns emerging in the behaviours of kinds. There has been links to loss of social skills and behaviour problems. Children are extra tired, moody and irritable compared to kids who only use the screens an hour or two a day.
With children, it can go from just an hour on the phone to experiencing difficulty taking that phone away which can sometimes even lead to violence.
Pre-pandemic, children were used to interacting with other kids at school and going to the playground. This turned into pure isolation inside the house as well as digital communication becoming the normal.
Children with high screentime may also find it difficult in social settings, more specifically picking up cues such as body language and touch to respond appropriately. The exaggerated movements and lack of eye contact experienced on the phone or on the IPad is not how humans were evolved to communicate.
3. Irregular Sleeping Patterns
Most of us are guilty of checking our phone before bed whether that is a Youtube video or just your Instagram feed. However, what you might not realise is the harmful effects this is having to your brain. Before we go to sleep, we produce a chemical called melatonin which is what makes us sleepy. This is often released when it’s dark.
Now, when we are using our phone or other screen before getting into bed, the bright light from the technology is telling our brains that it is still daytime which is keeping us more alert. Therefore, our body produces less Melotonin to prepare us for sleep.
This will result in children falling asleep later and worse having poor quality sleep. This is especially true because studies show that children let more light in with their eyes keeping them far more awake at night when using a phone or anything similar.
Overall, it is very important to keep track of how much you are letting your children be exposed to screens. The recommended by scientists is one or two hours a day. It may have become more difficult with the current way of life but will have long term benefits for your children if restricted appropriately.