4 Signs that Your Teen is Having Too Much of Screen Time

The easy access to devices and the internet has made the problem of screen time all-pervasive, specifically among children and teens. According to recent statistics, the average daily screen time in the US is 7 hours 4 minutes, exceeding the global average by 7 minutes. The bigger concern is that these numbers apply to children and teenagers as well.

A new study establishes the link between excessive screen time in an infant’s first year and impaired cognitive skills later in life. It shows that kids with a screen exposure of an average of two hours daily performed worse on attention at the age of 9. 

Imagine your child facing health issues and underperforming everywhere only because you let them watch too much TV or play games when they were young. However, many parents fail to realize that their kids are going over the top with screen time. 

In this article, we will highlight the warning signs that you need to curb the usage of devices and save your child from the harmful effects it can have on their overall well-being. 

Sign #1: Physical Symptoms 

The CDC notes that children between 6 and 17 should be active for at least 60 minutes daily. Anything below the recommended physical activity levels can cause physical symptoms. Excessive screen time is a major reason they may fall short because scrolling social media, watching videos, and playing online games seem far more enticing than playing outdoors. 

You may notice several signs of things going wrong for your child physically. The continuous exposure to bright screens and the attention required on small text or images can cause headaches and eyestrain. Kids can develop “tech neck,” or neck and back pain from slouching or hunching over screens for long periods. Moreover, staring at screens late at night can disturb sleep patterns, resulting in weariness, insomnia, and trouble focusing during the day. 

Sign #2: Behavioral Changes

Research shows that excessive screen usage can cause problems in social-emotional development in children. These include depression, anxiety, obesity, and sleep disturbances. You may notice gradual negative behavioral changes in your child when they start spending too much time on their device screens. 

Teens may exhibit irritability, mood swings, or aggression when parents interrupt them or try to limit the time spent with the device. Further, they may withdraw socially as they prioritize online interactions over face-to-face communication. A decreased interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed is another warning indication.

The recent Facebook lawsuit underscores the hazards that social media, in particular, poses to the mental health of users. People are actually seeking compensation for the harm it causes. You have a valid reason to worry if your teen spends most of their time scrolling this social media network and interacting with online connections.

TorHoerman Law notes that Meta, the creator of Facebook, is facing several lawsuits due to the mental health implications posed by the platform. The issue escalated in 2021, when Frances Haugen, a former employee of Meta, leaked the company’s internal documents, bringing attention to its role in the deteriorating mental health of Americans. 

Sign #3: Poor Academic Performance

Is your child struggling with declining grades in school? Is a lack of concentration and focus affecting their academic performance? Do you notice indifference toward school friends and activities? Excessive screen time could be the possible culprit, affecting more than school grades and concentration levels. It can even affect your child’s self-esteem and confidence levels down the line. 

Studies show a link between increasing screen time and poor performance in school. Three hours or more can have a profound impact on academic performance. Teens often fail to complete assignments and stick with their study schedules due to distractions from screens. So watch out if you can relate both factors.

Sign #4: Strained Interpersonal Relationships

Excessive screen time affects more than the physical health, mental well-being, and school grades among kids. It can strain relationships with family and friends as teens prioritize screen-related activities over spending quality time with loved ones. Increased parental stress over this issue can even lower parent-child relationship satisfaction.

Additionally, such kids struggle to form genuine connections with peers because they are addicted to online interactions. These bonds often lack the intimacy and depth of face-to-face relationships. Gradually, your child may withdraw from social situations and events because they do not feel comfortable with real people.

Recognizing these warning signs is essential for parents because it is the first step in addressing the problem of excessive screen time in teenagers. As a parent, you should establish clear guidelines and boundaries regarding device use. Also, encourage alternative activities such as outdoor recreation, hobbies, and face-to-face interactions. Acting sooner than later is the only way to save your child from device addiction and its aftermath.

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