Have you ever felt so exhausted that you didn't know how you were going to make it through the day? It appears that more and more students are arriving to school these days feeling the exact same way. What's the culprit? The underlying cause is too much screen time. The amount of sleep children and adolescents are getting these days has decreased significantly. Recent studies have shown that extensive exposure to screen time such as television, electronic devices and mobile phones is having a negative impact on sleep. The end result is a growing culture of sleep deprived children addicted to technology. When students over stimulate their systems with electronics, it prevents them from getting the sufficient sleep required for their age group. In turn, it impacts their ability to successfully attend to class, perform at work or stay awake the following day. Screen time can be addictive. When used in excess, the brains ability to decompress becomes compromised and is unable to enter a state of calm for sleep.
Since I have witnessed the negative effects that excessive screen time has on students in the classroom, I'd like to share some helpful tips for parents fighting the electronics battle. To begin, in order to ensure your child gets sufficient sleep, screen time must be limited, especially during the evening hours. Boundaries need to be set and a No Technology Zone established. For example, the table should be reserved for eating only and technology turned off at least one hour before bedtime. Parental controls can be installed to ensure your child is viewing age appropriate content on television and the internet. In addition, empower yourself to exercise your right to obtain their passwords to monitor their social media activity. Be sure to establish a set amount of time for screen time and adhere to it without wavering. Most importantly, restrict the use of electronics in the bedroom at night and try to encourage other activities as alternatives (as audio books, puzzles etc.).
Lastly, consistency is a key factor in winning the battle over screen time. Once ground rules are established and routinely enforced on a daily basis, your children will eventually be able to fall back into a healthier sleep pattern. They will no longer suffer from the adverse effects of Too Much Screen Time. (Debbie Castelluccio, Teacher, Celebrate the Children)
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.