Remember when we surfed the beach instead of surfed the net? Remember when we wrote letters instead of emails? Visited each other’s homes instead of web pages? Rang doorbells instead of Skype calls? Probably not. Well not for the younger generation anyway. Kids these days are spending more and more time in front of the screen, so much that they are in front of a screen from morning until night. So should we draw the line at screens in the bedroom?
Kids become cranky, moody and have the potential to develop behavioural disorders from lack of sleep or from screens affecting their sleeping patterns and health. Light emission from technology can be harmful in regulating a child’s circadian rhythm and cognitive ability. And depending on the content that the child is watching before bed it can largely affect the way their mind settles into sleep. On top of this, if the child is not exercising regularly throughout the day and watching screens instead, sleep and routine are again disrupted and can lead to problems with behaviour. Studies have also shown links with obesity and academic performance.
Actress Kristen Bell made headlines when she announced that the film Frozen (watched by billions of children on repeat) had not been seen by her kids, who were too young for TV. Healthy doses of screen time recommended for children is one-two hours per day. Children under two are not recommended any screen time at all.
Draw the Line
Screens should be limited. Other means of communication should be prioritized in order to benefit mental and physical health and determine a positive standard for our children’s future selves. Without a line in the sand our children are dealing with disrupted sleep patterns, non-stop radioactive waves from our phones, stress from a never-ending attachment to society and unfiltered content, and the potential to become completely and utterly withdrawn from the real world.
Without limitations and surveillance, our children are spending major amounts of time addicted to the screen world. Without discipline high rates of depression and anxiety become rife as they are disconnected from negative ions, the molecular electrical charges we receive from nature that produce serotonin. It is imperative for our existence that they are around natural things; it is vital for our happiness and well being. And not only is sleep problematic, children will sleep less, and feel encouraged to text into the night and develop unhealthy habits.
We still live in the same world that we did before, even though the digital world is palpable within it. We still currently have the same opportunities to enjoy the world as it was before in terms of nature, human interactions, and health and fitness. We must remember to have the discipline to limit time with the screen, to play tennis outdoors with other people instead of inside on Wii, to open textbooks for our children instead of movies.
Health and happiness still requires the same things they always have, which is a dedication to the outdoors and to our natural state. We must remain in touch with ourselves and our children through nature in order to be truly fulfilled, healthy and happy.
When our children spend so much time looking down at screens instead of looking up at each other, they lose so much more than we realize. They lose some of the magic of life and active engagement with it, but more so, they lose the education of interaction and connection. We shouldn’t teach our children to hide behind screens, we should teach them the courage and productivity of face-to-face interaction. That is something no text message can convey.