Effects of Electronics: How Screen Time Can Affect Our Children

Electronics affect almost every aspect of our daily lives. They are sources of communication, organization, entertainment and distraction. Our children have more exposure to electronics than any generation before them and the question many of us are asking is: How is it affecting them?

A patient of ours sent MD Pediatric Associate providers some questions regarding teenager’s electronic usage for health class. We thought we would share the answers with everyone.

How much time should teenagers spend in front of a screen every day?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), no more than 2 hours of screen time is recommended for teenagers and to make sure screen time doesn’t occur at the expense of healthy activities such as exercise or sleep. Screen time is defined as “Digital media for entertainment purposes.” Therefore, use of media for school/homework is excluded from the screen time recommendation. 

How much time do most teenagers spend using electronic devices daily?

Typically exceeds 2 hours/day, especially when you consider the teenagers personal cell phone-texting friends, social media apps, gaming, TV/movies, etc. 

What physical problems arise as a result of using electronic devices?

With increased use of screen time comes depression, poor grades, difficulty with social interactions, poor posture (neck/back),  and increased risk for obesity because of sedentary issues.

Can electronics affect sleep quality?

The blue light emitted from electronic devices are bad for sleep. Electronic devices decrease total sleep minutes, sleep quality & melatonin production. It will leave you feeling groggy in the mornings. 

In what ways has the usage of electronic devices positively and negative affected academics and learning?

Positive effects of technology; increase manual dexterity, become more computer literate and increase creativity especially in younger children and different learning games and apps. 

Negative effects of technology; can lead to aggression from playing violent games, sedentary lifestyle when kids don’t want to go outside and play and poor time management because they cannot put down their devices in order to finish homework, play with friends and family, and eat proper meals.