Effects of screens on you child’s brain
Digital devices guide our modern life, they can enhance learning & build community but they can also interfere with everything from sleep to creativity. In addition to physical changes to posture, repetitive strain issues and inactivity resulting from constantly staring at a smartphone, screen time can also change your child’s behaviour & brain development.
Your child’s brain is constantly building neural connections & discarding diminished ones. Much of what happens on screen provides lower quality stimulation & studies show the quality of media can lead to structural changes in the brain. Thoughtful use increases capacity whereas mindless exposure leads to atrophy or loss of tissue. Not having a chance to be bored also means less space for imagination & creative thinking to develop.
Sleep is another key component to brain development. Screen time before bed can disrupt sleep patterns by leading to less deep REM sleep which is essential for processing & storing information into memory.
Most games & social media work on a reward system similar to gambling. The effects of screen addiction on the brain are very similar to other addictions & your child's brain lacks the self-control system to help stop obsessive behavior.
So as a parent what can you do? Being aware of digital distraction is a good start. A large number of parents & children sense distraction when talking to each other. You could try the following:
Have regular sit-downs & screen-free meals. Be present with your child & teach them to be present also.
Avoid blue light-emitting screen use before bedtime. Change screen display to warm settings in the evening.
Come up with a healthy media diet plan as a family. Limit recreational screen time, let your child know what they watch can have a positive or negative effect on them.
Help your child plan how to spend their time, focusing on important and favorite activities.
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