Impact of social media and screen time on children’s mental health

Worried about your child spending too much time on social media and gadgets? Read on to find how you can help regulate screen time for them.

Wed Mar 8, 2023

Screen time has become an important part of children's life, with many of them spending hours each day on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

While there are benefits to screen time, such as access to educational resources and social connections, there are also concerns about its potential impact on children's mental health.

In this article, we will look at how screen time affects children's mental health and provide a few tips to parents and caregivers on how to foster appropriate screen time habits.

The Effects of Screen Time on Mental Health
Excessive screen time has been linked to a range of mental health problems in children including:

1. Depression and Anxiety: According to studies, children and teens who spend too much time on screens have greater rates of depression and anxiety. This may be due in part to the negative effects of social media, such as cyberbullying and social comparison.

2. Poor Sleep: The blue light emitted by electronic gadgets can disturb sleep patterns, resulting in poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. This might lead to mental health issues including irritation and difficulties concentrating.

3. Impaired social skills: Excessive screen usage can damage social skills in children, causing them to struggle with face-to-face communication and social interactions. This can increase mental health issues including social anxiety and loneliness.

4. Lack of focus and concentration: Apart from the negative effects mentioned above, the very act of scrolling down regularly leads to adversely hampering the focus and concentration abilities in children. They are constantly looking for something more, and when this becomes a habit or pattern, they find it hard to stick and persevere with things in real life too. This leads to a decline in their academic performance, ability to participate in classroom activities or do any task.

5. Poor emotional skills: Since kids spend a lot of time in the virtual world, they eventually get disconnected from their own emotions and those of others around them. They find it hard to explain how they are feeling, or sense the feelings of those around them. This can lead to various issues like poor emotional intelligence, poor social skills and inability to regulate tough emotions in socially acceptable ways.

While screen time is a crucial aspect of contemporary living, it is critical for parents and caregivers to encourage appropriate screen time practises in children. Here are some suggestions for encouraging good screen time habits:

  1. Set limits: Limit screen time and encourage kids to participate in other activities, such as physical and creative ones.
  2. Encourage positive use: Encourage your children to use their electronic devices for constructive purposes such as accessing educational resources, pursuing hobbies, and connecting with friends and family.
  3. Model healthy behavior: Model healthy screen time practises for your children, and be aware of your own usage of electronic devices in front of them.
  4. Create a screen-free environment: Establish a screen-free atmosphere during mealtimes and other family activities to encourage face-to-face conversation and social engagement.
  5. Monitor use: Monitor on your kids' usage of electronics and be aware of any potential dangers from excessive use.

In conclusion, excessive screen time can harm children's mental health by causing depression, anxiety, poor sleep, decreased physical activity, and impaired social skills. Parents or caregivers, on the other hand, may help children navigate the digital world in a safe and healthy manner by fostering appropriate screen time practises.

Parents or caregivers may help children build good habits around technology usage and promote better mental health outcomes by setting boundaries, encouraging positive use, modelling healthy behaviour, maintaining a screen-free atmosphere, and monitoring use.

Through our courses, kids learn to focus and concentrate better and regulate tough emotions in socially acceptable ways. Through our techniques, kids are able to learn necessary skills to excel in academic, social and emotional fields. 

BodhiShishu's techniques work at the subconscious level of the child for lasting results. All our programs are age-appropriate, fun and engaging. Always keep in mind that every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. It is important to be patient and try multiple methods to see what works best for your child. That's why all our programs have techniques for all learner types- Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic. Your child can learn the skills needed to be calm and focussed with practise and encouragement. 

Darshan Bawa
Founder- BodhiShishu, Social- Emotional Learning (SEL) and potential growth coach for kids. Passionate about helping children unleash their full potential.

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