Screen Time and Gaming Addiction: How Coding Can Help Your Child
Recent statistics show that nearly 50% of all children aged 8 and under own a tablet and spend, on average, 2.25 hours each day in front of a screen. What’s happening to these children’s brains after so much screen time? Early results from studies show that children who engaged in screen-time activities for more than two hours per day performed poorly on thinking and language tests. Results also revealed that some children who watched screens for more than seven hours per day suffered from thinning of the cortex, the part of the brain associated with critical thinking and reasoning. More teachers are complaining about children showing up to school exhausted and sleep-deprived after spending nights scrolling social media feeds and playing online games.
The Dangers of Excessive Screen Time for Children
Parents must restrict how much time their children spend online each day. They must ensure that children have enough time for things like hanging out with friends, reading, doing homework, exercising, and participating in extracurricular activities. Otherwise, here are a few harmful impacts excessive screen usage can have on children:
Strained Eyes and Body
Your body suffers when you stare at a screen for lengthy periods, especially the eyes. In addition to taxing the eyes and making them feel dry, too much screen time can harm the retina and cause visual problems. Additionally, slouching over all the time impairs posture and can cause neck and shoulder stiffness.
Blue light generated from digital screens prevents the body from producing melatonin, the sleep hormone; how much screen time children spend directly affects how much sleep they get. This explains why using technology shortly before bed will make it much more challenging for children to drift off.
Increased Chance of Obesity
Children are robbing themselves of exercise and physical activity since digital devices encourage a passive and sedentary lifestyle. This causes them to gain weight, especially if they frequently snack while scrolling through their feed or watching TV.
Risk of Chronic Health Diseases
Obesity increases the risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Scientific studies have demonstrated that prolonged periods of sitting while using digital gadgets can increase blood glucose levels and insulin and cause fat to accumulate in the bloodstream. You can avoid these issues in children by engaging them in more physical activities and cutting down on screen time.
Loss of Cognitive Ability
The impact of excessive screen usage on children’s mental health is among its most terrifying effects. By shrinking the grey matter, which controls cognitive functions, and white matter, which acts as the brain’s signal communication network, excessive screen time affects the brain’s basic structure. This shows up as a lack of focus, poor memory, delayed information processing, and poor impulse control. These effects are especially concerning in youngsters because their brains are still growing.
Poor Socialising Skills
When we are focused on what is happening on the screen, we ignore real-life happenings. This makes using digital devices predominantly a lonely pastime. This might exacerbate antisocial behaviour and withdrawal. When children spend time on digital gadgets instead of talking to people and playing with their peers, they miss out on this priceless chance to grow crucial social skills from interacting with friends.
Lack of Emotional Judgement
The capacity to recognise and process emotions is also impacted by excessive screen time. One particularly unsettling consequence of impaired emotional judgment is the desensitisation to violent content. Scientific study has shown that exposure to intense and violent content can increase aggression, particularly in young children and teenagers.
Development happens quickly in young children, especially those below three. They learn by investigating their surroundings, observing adults, and copying them. A child’s capacity to observe and engage in ordinary everyday activities may be impeded by excessive screen time, creating a type of “tunnel vision” that may harm their general development.
One of screen time’s most concerning side effects is its ability to put the mind in an addictive stage. Our brain’s reward centre is activated by the dopamine rush experienced when playing games and using digital devices, which subtly increases our want for more. This explains why many of us are caught in a loop of screen addiction.
The Solution to this Problem
As worried as the teachers are about the increased time pupils spend online, they are aware that screen time is set to stay. Simply put, the world doesn’t operate as it did 30 years ago. Children need to use technology. Researchers, teachers, and parents are discovering that, even though children’s screen usage has increased, it’s time to change how we view it. They are figuring out creative methods to intentionally integrate technology into lessons because they believe children will enjoy it more. It is essential to help children develop necessary digital literacy skills by showing them the safe, creative, and effective use of technology. One of the finest ways to educate children about the value of computer skills is to teach them to code. Not only does it promote healthy screen time, but it also enhances their learning abilities at school.
Advantages of Coding
Strategic objectives (better jobs) and usability come up far too frequently when discussing coding. The other talents and abilities that children can develop by learning to code often take the backseat. Here is a list of advantages of teaching children how to code: Problem-Solving: Children develop problem-solving abilities through coding by finding solutions to various problems. As children learn to code, they learn many different ways to accomplish a task, even if their initial approach doesn’t work. Children who study coding are better equipped to face new problems. Coding improves their confidence, numeracy, writing, and communication skills. Creativity: Coding encourages a ton of creativity. Children can create and manage their games and other interactive works of art with coding. The task entails generating designs, incorporating narratives and computer graphics, and creating animated characters and fantasy universes. Teamwork: Children have the fantastic opportunity to collaborate on projects as they learn to code. They participate in group discussions, improving their team communication and project management skills. Children of every ethnicity, gender, and background can learn to code. Children with a passion for technology interact with others and learn to work together. Presentation Skills: Children present the projects they make while learning to code. They become more confident as learning to code teaches them how to interact with the most uncomplicated audience: computers. By learning to code, children gain an understanding of simplifying complex concepts and arranging them for the computer to understand. Empathy: Children gain knowledge about user experience when they develop an app. Additionally, they get awareness about the overall user experience of a product, such as websites or computer programs, particularly in terms of its simplicity or aesthetics. Fun and Satisfaction: Although it is logic-based, programming is also imaginative and enjoyable. Children can independently develop applications, websites, and video games after learning to code! Help your children become creators, rather than passive consumers of social media and online games. Coding for children has so much more to it than just writing code. Consider your child’s age, cognitive skills, and desired results when selecting any coding program.