Behavioral Issues Regarding Screen Time and Children

Cheyenne Goff, Staff Writer

Have you ever watched a situation where a young child was told to turn off the television and it turned into WWII? Or maybe you’ve been a caregiver in that situation and didn’t understand why they act like that, or what can happen to make this easier or avoidable completely. Did you know that elementary school age children who have a television in their room have lower academic testing scores than children who don’t?

Using screens is like giving the brain a nice big hug, it stimulates the dopamine glands. It’s like a reward system, you watch something on a screen, it feels good to your brain. It can also be very addicting. So when this super nice brain hug is suddenly taken away because it’s time to eat, of course the child is going to have a melt down. Especially because at this point their self control is not completely developed yet and can easily raise obsessive behavior.

 Sometimes it can be all too easy to give the kiddo your phone to ‘get some things done around the house’ or to ‘peacefully just finish a meal’. “When screens displace other activities and interactions it can also increase the potential for “missed opportunities.” For example, too much time on the tablet, a generally solitary activity, may result in a kid missing out on valuable caregiver interactions that model and teach emotional regulation.”(Lindsay Knetemam) Young children need human interaction to read faces and learn emotions which in turn develops social and cognitive skills. “Exposure to screens reduces babies’ ability to read human emotion and control their frustration. It also detracts from activities that help boost their brain power, like play and interacting with other children.” 

Learning why screens are harmful to children and why is very important. Knowing these things really can change the future for these kids. Knowing how to limit and what and how much is acceptable is key for the development of these children.