All attendance classes are stopped again and the children study in front of the computers. This costs a lot of effort for the parents, who at the same time have to organize their work tasks and the distance learning of their children, especially the little ones in pre-school and primary education. Some have serious difficulty finding another adult to care for the child during the day’s work. Paid leave has been exhausted since the previous closure, and unpaid leave leads to difficulties in covering the running costs of a household. How does long time in front of the computer affect children.
While during the summer season and autumn things were relatively calm, with another lockdown the anxiety in people is growing rapidly, followed by doubts that the situation will not be for 3 weeks.
I often advise parents that it is good for children to have limited access to electronic devices, because this can be detrimental to the child’s health and development. Until yesterday, everyone in the education system was of this opinion, and today more and more teachers, overwhelmed with fear, are pushing for online learning, which leads to hours in front of a computer or tablet for children.
Excessive use of screens in preschool and primary school leads to problems with attention, concentration, and even behavior. Depression and anxiety levels in children are increasing. And if we talk about video games, we can often see more frequent aggressive behavior.
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The amount of time spent in front of a preschooler in front of a screen is related to the subsequent appearance of problems with attention, concentration and behavior. Compared with children with less than 30 minutes a day in front of a monitor, children who watch more than two hours a day are five times more likely to develop clinically significant behavioral problems and almost six times more likely to have problems with cognitive processes. In addition, children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a monitor are almost eight times more likely to meet the criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which in itself indicates an increase in symptoms in children with such disorders.
Excessive time in front of screens leads to chronic irritability in children. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of unusually high arousal and may look tired. That is, they are excited but exhausted. Because chronically high levels of arousal affect memory and the ability to concentrate, these children are likely to have academic difficulties. Perhaps it is now more logical to say that distance learning is not so effective.
Not surprisingly, young children are more sensitive to electronic devices than adults. Prolonged exposure to electronics creates sensory overload, which can distract the child and he loses focus. Overload can lead to depletion of mental energy.
Scientists claim that for a five-year-old child, the healthy time limit in front of a screen should not exceed 30 minutes a day. More than that, it can affect the good quality of sleep. Exposure to electronic devices desynchronizes the child’s biological clock. This is the result of a screen that mimics daylight and suppresses melatonin – the hormone that regulates the sleep and wake cycle in the body.
Admittedly, it is almost impossible to completely eliminate electronics from our daily lives; however, unlimited working time does more harm than good. Regulating and reducing the time of use is beneficial not only for the child but also for the family as a whole. After all, less screen time also makes way for stronger and more meaningful connections with the people around us. It would be much better if the time in front of the screens was replaced by active sports.