How much screen time should my kids have?


So I ask myself the question of how much time is sufficient to allow my kids to sit in front of a screen. These days, kids would sit there all day every day if you allow them, believe me, I have 3 of them! Kenzie and Roman are obsessed with computer games and Anna would sit and watch tv if allowed. Me and my partner get really frustrated but at the same time, they are growing up with this technology and as they get bigger, they will only be working with computers etc more. So my question is how much is too much?

I wasn’t sure, what I do know is that if they have too much, their behaviour is most definitely affected and if you take it away, my kids seem to be lost and don’t know what to do, which told us that they needed a lot more time away from the screens and to use their initiative and think of something else to do. It is easy to get into letting them have free reign of screens, especially if you have things to do but the effects of too much time, in front of screens, not just affects your kids behaviour, it affects your family dynamic too.

My husband Joel and I were so fed up and we couldn’t have felt more disconnected from our kids, this was not the relationship we wanted with our children. So we ban computers and we could only put the television on after 6pm where we would watch one film together. It was the best thing we could have done, we talked to our kids, we laughed together and yes they weren’t impressed when we first put it in place but then, they didn’t even mention computers, phones etc and they even said they don’t care if they didn’t have them back because they enjoyed not having them, their relationship as siblings were much closer too. It was bliss!……So why on earth did we go straight back to what we were previously doing?!! It has gone straight back to how it used to be, short tempered angry, argumentative children are back. It is crazy! So as of yesterday, we have implemented screen time ban. It is not a complete ban, we have established some rules.

I did a bit of research and for children under 2 years of age, should not have any screen time. Children under the age of 18 should have the maximum of 2 hours of leisure screen time per day and no more. In France, the government have banned terrestrial tv, aimed at children under 3 years of age, Australia and Canada have similar guidelines. Taiwanese government fine parents £1000 if their child is under the age of 18 and using digital devices for prolonged periods. China and South Korea also have similar measures in place. The UK government has recently backtracked on a 2008 guidance that children should be exposed to technology and computers from a very young age, but there is currently no medical or governmental guidelines on screen time in the UK as yet but I am sure we will catch up with other countries at some point.

All this screen time is damaging our children’s health, not just physically(eyes) but psychologically too, it is changing the way children socialize with family members and others outside of the family unit. So much computer time, they are exposed to large amounts of blue light, which effects their levels of melatonin production. Blue light, which is emitted from computer, tv, tablet, phone screens, reduces melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep. If your melatonin is reduced, this is where trouble getting to sleep comes in, I have experienced this many times! So if your children are exposed to screens for prolonged periods of time, especially towards the evening, then their melatonin levels will be reduced. The best thing that you can do, if your children are exposed to screens in the evening is to either put the flux on the screen or buy them anti blue light glasses. http://www.Bloxxsleep.comThese glasses block up to 98% blue light and are also 100% UV filter, so great sunglasses too. These are what Roman is wearing above and my personal brand.

So lack of sleep, have you ever been sleep deprived? I got my hands up to this one and it effects you entirely. I was irritable, emotional, fatigued, mental thinking/reactions were slow, I couldn’t think straight and I am an adult, so what do you think sleep deprivation does to a child? The exact same thing! So check in with yourself and ask, Is my child getting enough quality sleep? You may be surprised how big a change in behaviour, just that little bit more sleep can have on you and your child.

For tips on sleep hygiene, go to my website and download a free pdf.        Sleep Hygiene: 3 top tips for better sleep


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