We live in a digital age when it is nearly difficult to avoid digital devices due to the nature of our lifestyles. While we used to celebrate technological advancements and the convenience that digital devices brought to our lives, a growing body of research points to the harmful impacts of excessive screen time on our mental and physical health. Some time this screen time is due to their online classes and some time due to them searching for online paper help
Since their bodies and minds are still developing and have less impulse control, children and toddlers suffer more serious health effects. Because of how common childhood obesity has become, it is one of the consequences of excessive screen time among young children that we cannot afford to ignore.
What does spending too much time in front of a screen mean?
The entire amount of time spent in front of digital screens in a day is referred to as screen time. These days, even young toddlers are familiar with a variety of technologies. While TV and computers used to be the only digital screens that kids stared at for hours on end, the development of mobile devices has dramatically extended the number of ways that they can be exposed.
Children viewing movies or playing games on their smartphones are regular sights on buses, trains, and even in restaurants, thanks to smartphones, tablets, and console games that make it easier for them to get more screen time wherever they are.
As most experts can’t agree on a defined period spent on screens that qualifies as “too much,” it’s difficult to identify whether screen time is excessive. Instead, it occurs due to the complexities of screen time’s effects.
1. Productive screen time, such as creating material, playing instructive games, and conversing with people, should be treated differently.
2. Passive screen time, such as mindless content consumption or scrolling through social media feeds.
As a result, when assessing when screen time is excessive, it’s important to examine the amount of time spent and how that time was spent.
How much can screen time lead to obesity in children?
Multiple research investigations have shown the link between screen time and obesity. Too much screen time leads to a change in a child’s lifestyle from active to sedentary, which is the leading cause of obesity. Excessive screen time has been linked to an increase in childhood obesity for a variety of reasons:
Lack of physical exercise
Watching movies and playing games on digital gadgets are both immobile. Children lose valuable exercise time when they spend too much time indoors with their electronics instead of going outside to play or explore their surroundings. A reduction in physical activity affects the number of calories expended and the metabolic rate.
An increase in snacking
TV time is always regarded as a good time to crack open a bag of chips or down a soft drink. Because of the indulgent nature of screen use, children have more opportunities to reach for snacks while absorbed in their displays. Unfortunately, children’s snacks are frequently addicting, high-calorie, and low-nutrient density.
Increased exposure to food commercials
TV shows and ads can inadvertently tempt your child to eat more. When youngsters see food advertising or TV shows featuring food products, they are more likely to eat more. These conclusions are backed up by research: a Harvard University study found that food marketing can boost snacking behaviours by 45%.
Screen time can cut into a child’s sleep time, which can impact the child’s metabolism. Lack of sleep disrupts hormonal balance, causing a metabolic slowdown, much as it does in adults. As a result, weight increases and obesity may occur.
While too much screen time can contribute to childhood obesity, reversing the trend can help children shed weight. According to an American study, students in primary school benefited from less screen time and more control over the content they consumed. As a result, these youngsters slept more, behaved better, were more sociable with other children, excelled academically, and, most importantly, gained less weight and were less likely to be fat.
Obesity can imply being taunted by other kids and having poor energy levels in a child’s world. However, they are only the surface effects. The long-term chronic health concerns that pediatric obesity can cause make it such a serious problem.
Obesity is linked to elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels. These factors increase the likelihood of having heart disease and other heart-related issues such as heart attacks and strokes later in life.
In Singapore, diabetes affects youngsters as early as five years old. Cases of pediatric diabetes are on the rise, particularly type 2 diabetes, which has been related to obesity. This life-threatening illness arises when the body cannot effectively break down and absorb glucose.
Although asthma in young children is not uncommon, obesity can have a role in developing asthma in children who do not have it naturally. Asthma is a lung disease characterized by inflammation of the airways, and there is a strong link between persistent asthma and obesity.
Obesity might induce sleep problems by increasing the likelihood of obstructed airways during sleeping. This can lead to chronic diseases like snoring and sleep apnea, disturbing a child’s sleep quality and quantity. In addition, this impacts their energy levels and concentration throughout the day.
Obesity puts additional strain on the joints, which can cause pain because they are not well-developed enough to sustain the body’s weight. As a result, obese children are less likely to be physically active, creating a vicious cycle of obesity and inactivity.
Other negative effects of excessive screen time
Excessive screen time in children might cause difficulties in the following two areas, in addition to the large problem of childhood obesity.
Social development is hampered
Interacting with their parents, relatives, and other youngsters teaches children to socialize. However, their social abilities and ability to detect nonverbal clues can be harmed when adolescents spend more time communicating in a virtual setting.
While games and movies are entertaining, social media can be harmful to a child’s mental health. Low self-esteem in children and adolescents has been linked to social media, raising the likelihood of depression and other mental health concerns. Cyberbullying is another digital threat that can have a negative impact on a child’s mental health. Three out of every four local adolescents aged 13 to 19 have experienced some cyberbullying, making this a serious issue to be concerned about.
Finally, It all comes down to balance and parental engagement in overcoming obesity caused by excessive screen usage. Screen time should be considered a lifestyle activity rather than something that consumes all of your child’s time. Therefore, from an early age, get your child used to living with limited screen time; this not only avoids childhood obesity but also protects long-term physical and mental health.