Since the smartphone has become a part of our daily lives, screens have become an essential commodity of our culture. Every day we are subjected to emails, texts, photos, e-invites and so much more. It’s clear to see that adults have shifted their entire lives over to screens in both a professional and personal capacity. But what about teens? What are the effects of screen time on the generations that are growing up?
Social and Developmental Effects of Screen Time
Studies have shown that children and teens get much of their knowledge from the world around them. When children and teens spend most of their time on screens they miss those cues. Trouble concentrating is linked to prolonged screen use as well as difficulty developing social skills. Teens who spent their childhood on screens have less developed empathetic skills as a result of the lack of person to person interactions. It is important for parents to understand their role in teaching teens on how to limit their screen use. Some simple things that families can do are:
- Having screen-free meals
- Limiting screen-time before bed
- Help plan your child’s screen time
Are screens really that bad?
Researchers and physicians have come to an agreement that it’s not just how much time spent on screens, it’s how we’re using that time that has a negative effect. Solitary apps like social media and single-player games can promote isolation in children and teens and have them become more withdrawn. However, online activities that promote connectivity like virtual sports or even watching movies can be turned into a positive social experience. For example, if your teen wants to play videogames, pediatricians encourage parents to play along with them and have conversations about themes and images that might be seen. This way there is positive social interaction along with an online component. By introducing this social aspect to a solitary activity you can get in some family time without taking away your teen’s preferred activity.
Screen time at Journey Home
At programs like Journey home, students are taught to self monitor their screen time. This could be learning how to manage online work and school tasks as well as personal time on phones. Talk to your child’s therapist to see how they plan to monitor and regulate screen time in the program. The more your child practices theses self-monitoring skills the more confident she’ll be when she is ready to put them to use in a non-program setting.