Understanding the Negative Effects of Screen Time on Your Child’s Mental Health

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Did you know that the average teenager spends up to nine hours a day staring at a screen?

It’s not only teens and young adults that struggle with too much screen time. Even children younger than eight spend nearly 2.5 hours every day looking at a tablet or smartphone.

The connection between children and electronics doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. And, of course, some technologies have made our modern lives easier.

But are there any negative effects of screen time parents should be aware of? Are there any connections between electronics and child development issues?

In this post, we’ll take a look at three negative effects of screen time in children–and what you as a parent can do about it.

Disrupted Sleep

Do you feel annoyed when your phone wakes you up at night?

Imagine how exhausted your kids must feel when they spend half the night responding to texts and tweets. An endless stream of notifications throughout the night disrupts the sleep they need to avoid burnout.

As if that’s not enough, electronic devices also emit powerful blue light that “tricks” the brain into thinking it’s daytime. This makes it harder to fall (and stay) asleep and is connected to many physical and mental health problems.

Increased Anxiety and Poor Social Skills

Does your child become grumpy or irritable when they spend too much time on electronic devices? Does he have trouble focusing or is he always hyper-active?

Excessive screen time could be a contributing factor to ADHD. Too much screen time can overstimulate a child’s mind (this happens to adults too). When they don’t receive the validation they’re hoping for in the form of likes, clicks, or comments, their self-esteem may plummet.

Even worse, new research shows that constant exposure to electronics increases the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Although technology appears to bring people together, in reality it has an isolating effect.

Children who spend too much time on electronic devices may fail to develop normal social skills. They may struggle to make “real life” friends or, as they get older, hold down a job or get involved in the community.

Exposure to Unwholesome Sites

Here’s a terrifying statistic for parents everywhere: 33% of children are exposed to a pornographic website before the age of 10.

Pornography isn’t the only concern either. There’s a vast amount of websites that perpetuate–even glorify–dangerous mental health disorders.

Some sites promote eating disorders, cutting, or other forms of self-harm. Others serve to destroy the fragile body image of developing teens (girls in particular).

The more time your child spends on the internet, the greater the likelihood of exposure to detrimental images and ideas.

Negative Effects of Screen Time: Now You Know

While technology has improved our lives in some ways, there are negative effects of screen time that we can’t ignore.

If your child is struggling with any of the symptoms outlined above, it could be from too much screen time.

Wondering what you can do? Contact us today to learn how to improve your family’s developmental, behavioral, and emotional health.

Negative Effects of Screen Time: Now You Know
While technology has improved our lives in some ways, there are negative effects of screen time that we can’t ignore.

If your child is struggling with any of the symptoms outlined above, it could be from too much screen time.

Wondering what you can do? Contact us today to learn how to improve your family’s developmental, behavioral, and emotional health.