Screens, Kids, and COVID

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Could your child or teen play video games or engage in computer screens from the moment he or she wakes up until it’s bedtime?

Does your child or teen get bored easily if not consistently occupied by the internet?

Has keeping your child or teen involved in hobbies or movement hard –
especially since the coronavirus?

If you could answer “yes” to any of these questions, know that you are not alone. Parents around the world are examining the subject of video games, technology, and screen time and the role they play in their children’s lives.

Overuse of technology and screen time has been a question for years and ever since the
coronavirus, these options for keeping children and teens busy has been a lifesaver for many just to survive the last few months.

But now that a “new normal” is setting in, do we let our kids continue to play with technology as much or do we begin to diversify their activities and if so, how?

Playing video games and engaging in technology and screens can have adverse affects on kids such as:

– increased heart rates

– increased blood pressure

– production of adrenaline

– anger and mood issues

– feelings of isolation

– anxiety

– depression

– a need for constant stimulation

In addition, games and electronics are easy to become addicted to which can lead to escaping into technology rather than dealing and processing feelings and emotions as kids grow.

But technology is part of our lives and we can’t ignore the fact that our children are more than likely going to use it daily for everything from their current school work to their eventual careers. And even more so these days, it is a way to connect with friends when they can’t see each other face to face.

So what’s best?

Dr. Graves believes:

“Technology and electronics are okay when rounded out with hobbies, movement, and other diverse interests.”

Limit usage in a kind and empathetic way by:

– remembering YOU are the parent and your job is to keep them healthy – both body and mind, in which limiting technology may need to be part of that.

– understanding that kids don’t have fully developed brains capable of setting their own time limits or realizing when it’s time to do something else like adult brains do.

– setting specific guidelines for younger children so they know the expectations and rules.

– talking with older children and teens about the harmful effects of too much
electronic time and that your job as their parent is to help them understand this. Letting them know that you are on their side, you want them to be healthy, and are there to help them find other interests can help put empathy as well as parameters around a
sometimes sensitive subject.

– help children choose new hobbies and interests such as: musical instrument lessons, low risk sports (such as tennis, swimming, or track and field), outdoor
movement (like kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, or biking), cooking, painting, sewing, writing, puzzles, etc.

How much is too much?

This link to The Child Mind® Institute gaming article gives guidance on what is generally okay and more things to keep in mind when it comes to limiting video games.

Finding balance between allowing your kids to enjoy electronics and encouraging other interests may not be easy at first, but adjusting to what works for your family is key. Talk openly with your kids about why guidelines are needed and work with them to find what can help them learn and grow as well as chill out and have fun!

Could you or your child benefit from holistic health care or counseling?

If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs or the greater Denver metro area and are in search of a naturopathic doctor, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to talk about your family’s needs.




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