I’m worried that my kids spend too much time on their devices. Is screen time bad for them?
When our kids are young, everything they experience is building the long-term circuits they will use for the rest of their lives.
Neuroscience research tells us that a child’s brain is 75% wired for behaviors by the age of 3 and 90% wired by age five. So what they do, see, hear, and experience is critical to who they become as adults.
Here’s the thing about screen time. Screen time may teach our kids to build up their feel-good circuits with mindlessness, ease, and lack of exertion.
During screen time, you get to chill out, your body releases dopamine, and you get good feelings.
Do we want our kids to associate their dopamine-feeling good circuits with mindfulness, working hard to overcome challenges, learning how to fail, and finally succeeding?
Or do we want our kids to associate that dopamine good feeling with chilling out on their screens, mindlessness, ease, and lack of exertion? It is more enjoyable to do the latter. I include myself in this; getting lost and scrolling through our screens is easy. Let me be clear; I am not advocating for no-screen time for kids. Parenting is hard, and screen time is often one of the few ways for parents to carve out some time for self-care.
The more screen time our kids have in the early years, the less prepared they may be for the frustration tolerance that comes with life’s challenges when they get older.
Instead of screen time, sit down, grab a book, read together and build up some connection capital with your child.
When appropriate for your child to be online, here is some excellent content you can feel good about your child watching.