With technology around every corner, it seems as if kids are perpetually staring at one screen or another. But according to new research, putting your kids on a screen time “fast” of sorts might be just what the doctor ordered, as too much screen time can cause a number of behavioral, social, and emotional issues.
In fact, the impact of excessive technology use on kids has been so marked that doctors have come up with a name for the condition: “Electronic Screen Syndrome.”
Children with Electronic Screen Syndrome can be diagnosed with serious conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. Meanwhile, they are actually suffering from too much time plugged in.
And indeed, children do spend quite a lot of time in front of screens. On average, children spend more than seven and a half hours a day staring at the screens of their phones, computers, tablets, and televisions. Instead of spending weekends outside, children are now sequestered indoors, where their sole source of interaction is one screen or another.
While this certainly is disconcerting, experts say the answer to the problem is rather simple and involves limiting the amount of screen time your child has on a daily basis.
“It’s kind of like any bad habit in my opinion. It’s hard to ween it down… it’s better to go cold turkey and see what you get,” said Dr. Brad Ralston, a child brain neurologist. “It’s like anything else and say I’m going to cut it out a little bit you’re probably going to go back to it eventually. A little bit leads to a lot more. We recommend cutting it off. Take the iPad and take it to work or something or put it in a safe place, get rid of it for a while and see what your child acts like without it.”