Too much screen time is bad, right? Whether it’s in relation to your habits or the habits of your children, the general consensus seems to be that a lot of time in front of a screen, be it big or small, is harmful.
Is this really the case? Well…yes! There are all kinds of reasons to limit screen time. For one thing, we need to consider our various health needs. When we are sat in front of a screen for long periods, we become inactive, and as you can see here, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all kinds of health consequences.
Screen time before bed can lead to a lack of sleep which will be as problematic for you as it will be for your family. Check out our sleep tips if you’re struggling to get some shut-eye.
And if we or our children are reliant on screens during the day, it can limit the opportunity to do other things, such as visiting friends or spending time in an outdoor leisure activity.
These are just some of the reasons why screen time can be perceived as bad!
But here’s the thing. It’s about moderation. While you should insist on cut-off times for you and your kids, there are reasons why screen time can actually be positive.
#1: There is the opportunity for family bonding
Screen time can break families apart, especially when each family member is glued to their own private screens.
However, it can also bring families together. We are thinking of family movie nights, for example, which provide an excellent opportunity to be with one another. There are hundreds of movies that are fun for all the family and some of them can be the catalyst for a discussion, such as Wall-E which can be the springboard for a chat about the environment.
With so many streaming services out there, you are bound to find something. You can even switch your Netflix region if something your kids want to see is being streamed elsewhere. Check out this guide on how to switch Netflix region for more info.
Family bonding can also come from playing video games together. So, if your children prefer to hold a joypad in their hands instead of a dice and game piece, you could sit down on the sofa next to them and join in. Not only will there be the opportunity to do something fun with one another but it might also give your child a boost to their self-esteem if they can teach you how to play (or beat you at the game).
#2: Screen time provides social opportunities
Phones and tablets are sometimes the key to staying in touch with people we don’t get to see very often, such as distant friends and family members. They can also connect us to people who have similar interests to ourselves, such as on forums and social media groups. This applies to all the members of your family who want to reach out to others.
Admittedly, face-to-face interactions are always best but if these aren’t always possible, or if you or your children are socially shy and need time to build up communication skills, there are benefits to being online.
#3: Screen time can be educational
If you or your children want to learn a new skill, you should have little trouble finding the corresponding app. Check out these learning apps for adults and older teens, for example, and look for similar if you have younger children at home.
It might be that some apps and websites can help with your child’s homework too so you might decide to allow them access to their phones when they settle down to study – it’s still worth keeping an eye on them though to make sure they’re on task!
Too much screen time can be a bad thing so you should place limits at home. However, there are benefits too, so an outright ban on screens shouldn’t be the answer. So, as we said, practice moderation and find positive things to do with the screens that exist in your home.
Thank you for reading!