What are the effects of screentime on children?

How does screen-time effect children? If the screen time involves video games, The WHO (World Health Organization) now has an official diagnoses: Video Game Addiction, aka Internet Gaming Disorder. This is when playing video games interferes with normal daily activities, like personal hygiene, going to work or school, eating regular meals and socializing with friends and family. One of the major problems with many video games is there is ‘no end’ to the game. Many video games today are purposefully constructed to encourage play over longer periods of time (and purchase upgrades).

Just the use of screen devices has an effect on the brain. 60 Minutes did a segment on what research studies are showing about too much screen time. Though more study is needed, the research shows too much screen time changes brain function! Like in all things, too much of one activity is bad for the brain.

What can be done to limit screen time? Try de-activating one or more your social apps, like Instagram or Facebook for a week (most people find this rather liberating)! Another idea is to have a family no screen hour (or two) each day. Encourage talking to each other face to face, or do an activity together; painting, game of catch, board game, puzzle, or call a relative or friend, etc. (What did you do as a child before screens?) If you’re having trouble limiting screen time, you can even hire a professional ‘screen consultant’ or coach.

Those experiencing major symptoms of a video gaming addiction can get help with a psychotherapist and/or Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback has been shown to be very helpful as a way of teaching the brain better ways to regulate itself.

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