01 Aug, 2022 Screen time: Not so great after all!
An opinion piece
By Alexis Fischer
At Counter Culture Mom, we talk a lot about pushing back against the status quo that society presents to our children.
In this week’s op/Ed from our opinion writer, Alexis, she discusses the negative ramifications of excessive screen time for kids today. Whether your kid is indulging in games on their tablet or zonking out on the couch after school to Cartoon Network animated sitcoms, the bottom line today is not necessarily the removal of technology, but rather, wise utilization of it. Common sense and a little supervision can go a long way when it comes to the wonderful world of tech, and parents needs to be aware today more than ever about the dangers of the digital realm.
In today’s society, screens are everywhere. Although they may do a lot good, there are definitely some negative effects that screen time for kids can cause.
In a world where almost everything is virtual, it seems as if kids are spending more time looking at a screen than going outside and experiencing life to the fullest. A lot of times, these electronics that kids have are very convenient as they can essentially act as free babysitters.
Although the world of technology can and has done a lot of good, there are still some serious issues that comes with it, especially when it comes to the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health of a child’s life.
One of the problems with kids having electronics is that most of the time when they are on their phones or technology, they are sitting down. Common sense tells us that this is time when kids could be getting physical exercise but are now sitting in front of a television with a bag of chips for hours on end. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children between the ages of 8 and 12 spend about 4-5 hours on screens whereas teens can spend up to nine hours a day on screens. Half of a day is twelve hours, so on average, teens spend almost half of their days on screens. This is an insane amount of time to not be moving around and to staring at a screen. It is simply unhealthy.
A lot of children play video games. In fact, it is uncommon to talk to a child who doesn’t play video games. There are some good games but there are plenty out in the world that are not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, there are some extremely graphic and very dark games out there that kids can access. These games can affect children’s mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, playing violent video games can actually increase a person’s aggressive feelings and thoughts. There are so many children who are just left to play whatever games they want and it can actually harm them.
There are many times that watching a funny video on YouTube can brighten one’s day, but believe it or not, it can affect your emotions in a negative way. Humans were created to be outside, working, and active — not sitting home all day staring at a screen!
A study in 2017 showed that adults who are on a computer and/or watch television for more than six hours a day or more likely to have moderate to severe depression. If screens affect adults, how are they affecting children?
Another emotional factor to consider when it comes to online gaming is cyberbullying. A lot of children are cyberbullied to the point where they commit suicide. Often, when a child posts a picture of themselves on social media and it doesn’t get enough likes or comments, they start to judge themselves which takes a toll on their self-confidence and emotions.
Being close to God and having a good spiritual life is so important. I believe that teens especially need a good spiritual life because they face a lot of different temptations such as drugs, alcohol, and sex. When you let your child have screen time and they are not being monitored, children can be exposed to all sorts of evils such as pornography.
In fact, most kids are exposed to pornography by the age of eleven. Yes, your child will be exposed to online porn. But don’t panic — here’s what to do instead (theconversation.com) In addition, it is not uncommon at all for child predators to get their hands on your children. How many girls have had secret online relationships with men and then sneaked out to a hotel room and never came back? You might just be surprised how common this is.
All of this will impact your child’s spiritual life with God. Right now, especially among Gen Z, astrology is huge. Everywhere you go, zodiac signs seem to be present. There are countless random videos on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok that involve astrology such as “what signs make a good couple” or “what your sign says about you.” Today, children are learning that the stars define who they are and not God.
Deuteronomy 4:19 says, “And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.” God warns us about astrology and unfortunately it is something that is very prominent right now and is destroying kid’s relationships with God and screens are helping to accomplish this task.
One last negative of screen time is how it affects social life. Humans in general are social beings. We are meant to get out and socialize with others instead of hiding in a corner all day. Children are not learning proper social skills which effects their communication skills when physically interacting with people. There was an experiment performed in 2019 where children between 24 and 36 months that were given more screen time ended up not achieving as many development milestones when they reached the ages between the ages of 36 and 60 months. There are real consequences of letting children have screen time.
There are so many bad things that happen when screen time is introduced into a child’s life. Although there are many negative effects, it doesn’t mean that you need to completely get rid of screen time altogether. It may be a good idea to limit your child’s screen time each day as well as carefully monitoring their internet and social media activity. It is important that children and their parents have an open relationship so maybe consider talking to your child about the dangers of screen time and help them to understand why you are taking action.
In the end, you will be doing your child a great favor which will help them to stay on the right path and living out life to their full potential.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Alexis Fischer is both a part time high school student and part time college student and author of ZAP! She has a passion for writing and speaking the truth through it.
When Alexis isn’t in school or writing, she is often photographing landscapes or traveling. She can be found volunteering at a local zoo and finding new ways to help both people and animals around her. Most importantly, Alexis loves to glorify God in all that she does.
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