By: Yassmine ElSayed
CAIRO, Dec. 21 (SEE) – Parents should place much importance at following their kids’ behavior, but also never be responsible for any misbehave that the kids do.
Leaving electronic devices, screens into your kids’ hands is certainly your responsibility.. it can turn into an addiction which will be so hard to fight later on.
Typically, addiction is dangerous for its psychological implications, but now, the parents who fear their kids are spending too much time in front of screens should have more reason for concern.
In a recent piece published at livescience.com, Jean Twenge, professor of Psychology, San Diego State University wrote that new research funded by the National Institutes of Health found brain changes among kids using screens more than seven hours a day and lower cognitive skills among those using screens more than two hours a day.
This large amount of time spent using digital media is enough to crowd out time once spent on other activities, such as interacting with friends face to face, reading or going out.
Besides, kids and teens who spend more time with screens — including both TV and portable devices — also sleep less.
That could be because they spend so much time engaged with their devices that it’s coming at the expense of sleep. But there’s also a physiological reason: The blue light emitted by electronic screens tricks our brains into thinking it’s still daytime, and then we don’t produce enough of the sleep hormone melatonin to fall asleep quickly and get high-quality sleep.
Drawing from a large survey of parents administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, 2- to 10-year-olds who spent four or more hours a day on portable electronic devices — versus no time — were twice as likely to be significantly sleep deprived. TV time was also connected to less sleep, but not as strongly or consistently.
Among teens ages 14 to 17, those who spent four or more hours a day on portable electronic devices – versus no time – were 44 percent more likely to not sleep enough. However, once portable device time was statistically controlled, watching TV or playing video games on a console had little link to sleep time.
TV is simply not as psychologically stimulating as a portable device like a smartphone, which, unlike a TV, doesn’t exist to simply consume media. Smartphones have also become a huge part of social life, whether it’s texting with friends or interacting with them on social media.
And unlike TV, smartphones and tablets can be silently carried into the bedroom or even the bed, resulting in some teens using them throughout the night – what some call “vamping.”
Therefore, it’s best for smartphones and tablets to stay out of the bedroom after “lights-out” time. Nor is it a great idea to use the devices within an hour of bedtime, as their blue light influences the brain’s ability to produce melatonin. Finally, as a general rule, two hours a day or less spent on portable devices is a good guideline. These rules apply to parents, too – not only kids.