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Managing Your Child's Screen Time

By Donna Stark

You don't have to go too far away from your home to run into some older children or young teens. You can pretty much find them anywhere ... at the local mall, the nearby coffee shop, or perhaps even in your own home. They are everywhere, but you may not always hear them. Why? Because their attention is often focused on what they are holding in their hands. That little hard box that is sometimes referred to as "the best thing invented next to sliced bread." It's the apple of everyone's eye, and it comes in so many pretty colors. But is it really all that it's cracked up to be? Are the benefits of having one as rosy as the color you can choose to buy it in?

Health Consequences with Cell Phones

Sure, the actual realities of childhood change with each and every generation, some are positive and some are negative, but for the generation that can't let go of their cell phones, there are some real health consequences that must be considered. Let's take a look at a few of them here, and let's also remember that not every child falls into these categories.

  • Psychological factors - Research is showing that the amount of screen time spent on devices continues to increase with adolescents. Some children spend hours on their devices every day, which can lead to depression, loneliness, and poor social skills.
  • Physical fitness - Whereas previous generations might have spent more time outdoors, working, playing sports, or engaging in some other kind of physical activity, technological devices invite those who use them to sit. And to sit a lot. This leads to higher numbers of those with obesity, poor posture, and weaker bodies.
  • Sleep - Using devices at bedtime can significantly impact the quality and duration of a child's sleep by potentially increasing sleep anxiety, sleep disturbances, and nighttime waking. This can lead to problems at school and can also impact your child's overall health.

Use it Wisely

Obviously, technology isn't going anywhere. If anything, the demand for screen time will only increase as it becomes more widely accepted for people of all ages. The key here is to teach your child how to use it wisely. It's important to have an understanding of the benefits, limitations, and impact that technology can have on a child's life, so be sure to check the effect that screen time has on your child's overall health and wellness.

You can also exemplify the behavior you want to see in your kids by making some changes yourself. Put away your phone at dinner, spend time reading a real book rather than scrolling through social media, and engage in actual real-life conversations. It may take some dedication and intentionality, but the end result will be worth it! Better relationships and improved health ... you couldn't ask for better from that little, rosy box in your hand.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Woodbury, Minn.

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