Screens seem to have taken over our modern world for better or worse — and everyone seems to have their own opinion about the value of screens in daily life, including with young kids. While plenty of parents love to incorporate screens and technology into their family time and their entertainment, others would nothing more than to banish them entirely and go full Waldorf. Whether you want to ditch the phones entirely or simply put a few more limits and restrictions on the screen time in your house, there are a lot of reasons why limiting screen time in your home might be a great idea.
Although screen time — especially sedentary, recreational screen time — is generally known to be unhealthy for children and adults alike, the average teenager spends around seven and a half hours of screen time per day. For younger children, the number is slightly less, and for adults, it’s actually a bit higher. This is way too much screen time to be considered healthy under any circumstances. Plus, home is the place to connect with one another, and for kids to learn and grow through good examples. Limiting the screen time in your house can bring so many benefits, and here are just a few of them.
More Family Time
One thing you may notice right away when you limit or eliminate screen time in your family is that you suddenly will have more time to spend with one another. Although you may not realize it in the moment, screen time can make time disappear quickly and without a trace. Have you ever had the experience of sitting down on social media for a few minutes only to emerge and find out that an hour has passed? Without this possibility, your family time can be used more mindfully and you can find better, more conscious ways to connect with one another.
Intentional Quiet Time
Screen time can be loud in a number of ways — while yes, it can be loud in the sense that video games, shows and movies can clutter your soundscape, they can also clutter the mind and make it difficult to adjust to relaxation when you’re used to constant stimuli. This can be even more apparent in kids who have grown up with or adjusted to constant screen time. Intentional forms of rest and relaxation are important, and often much more beneficial than screen time. By limiting screens, you and the kids will be pushed to consider alternative forms of intentional rest such as reading, meditation or crafting.
It’s no secret that screens aren’t good for the eyes. They can cause dryness, damage to eyesight, light sensitivity and even headaches. While blue light blocker glasses, short breaks and other methods can offer some protection while you use your screens, there’s truly no substitute for taking some time away from the screens. This can improve adult eyesight and can be especially beneficial for developing eyes such as teens, but especially for younger children.
Encouraging Physical Activity
Physical activity is great for growing kids as well as adults trying to maintain their health, and with less time spent on screens, many people will naturally feel more inclined towards physical activity. Whether this active time is spent alone or is spent as a part of that intentional family time, encouraging more physical activity in your household can increase health and happiness overall. Physical activity can involve anything from walking to practicing sports — no matter what it is in your house, the absence of screens tends to make it look much more appealing.
While screens can be used for all kinds of things, studies tend to show that teens and adolescents who spend more time on screens are more likely to experience psychological distress and unwellness. Technology is often distracting and time-consuming, while at the same time, it can also exacerbate stress and negative emotions. Especially for kids and teens who are still growing, this can take a toll. However, spending less time on screens tends to correlate positively with good moods and generally improved wellness.
Ability to Be Bored
While being bored may not always sound like a good thing, people in recent years have collectively lost the ability to sit with their boredom and experience it fully. Some of the very best thoughts come to people when they’re bored, but people have been taught to fill their boredom with content constantly so as not to experience it. Teaching your kids — and yourself — to be bored again can allow you to sit with those quiet moments and experience them.
Limiting Screen Time
Screen time may have its place in your house, or it may need to take a complete pause for a while. No matter which direction you plan to go in, limiting screen time can open up so many possibilities for your family.