Since time immemorial, adults have worried about how teenagers and children of the next generation are spending their time. However, while parents’ concerns about smartphones might be exaggerated, there are some real problems with screen time.
Specifically, too much screen time can have a negative impact on your child’s sleeping patterns.
LED screens emit blue light, and too much of this light can interfere with our sleep patterns. Before we go to bed, our pineal gland secretes melatonin which makes us feel tired and fall asleep. Blue light released by laptops, TVs, mobile phones and iPads, inhibits the release of this melatonin, which can make us more alert - interrupting our natural sleeping pattern.
Limiting a child’s screen time, especially during the evening, can have many benefits – not least to their writing.
If your kids spend all evening in front of a screen, they will feel less tired, leading them to spend even more time in front of the screen instead of sleeping and getting the rest they need to perform well at school the next day. If they are too tired at school, their writing and other learning is only going to suffer.
So, when it comes to lights out – that means all kinds of light, including that which comes from device screens.
Limiting tech will increase hand strength
Toddlers are increasingly using touchscreen devices as a primary source of play and entertainment, instead of more diverse objects such as building blocks, trainsets, dolls and other toys. This means that when they first learn to write, they may not have developed a sufficient level of hand strength to hold a pencil correctly.
As a consequence they may find it hard to even grip a pencil – and this could mean it takes longer for them to learn to write basic letters and numbers. By limiting toddlers’ access to electronic devices and giving them building blocks and toys to play with instead, you can ensure that they develop the hand strength required to write as soon as they start school.
Concentration is key
If your child spends too much of their time watching moving images and flashing lights on a screen, pencils and paper will feel a little less exciting! Likewise, the constant notifications which are staples of modern electronic devices trigger immediate responses and distractions every few minutes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t marry well with the process of learning to write which is all about sustained concentration.
Learning to write and then to form long and complex sentences takes a long time. In order to write well, children have to dedicate hours to practicing using their pencils. If their minds are trained to focus in five-minute intervals by technology, then this learning process becomes significantly more arduous. By encouraging your kids to take a break from the tech and take up some other hobbies, you will help to improve their attention span, and consequently, their ability to focus on learning to write in school and at home when the tech is turned off.
Technology has brought huge advances to our lives and can help your children in so many different ways. However, the amount of time they spend using these devices needs to be limited, as too much tech can damage the development of their writing ability.