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Screen Time for Children

We know that a part of life in recent years has been an increase in the use of screens for learning and entertainment. However, it is worth considering how too much screen time can affect children (and adults as well)! Below is a summary of research that has been carried out into the effects of screen time on children.


  • Research has shown that screens emit blue light which can disrupt the falling asleep process.  This is because they prevent the body from releasing melatonin – known as the “sleep hormone” which makes the body feel sleepy in the evening.
  • Viewing a screen instantly stimulates the brain and makes it far more difficult for the brain to “switch off”, let alone calm down and prepare to fall asleep.
  • Evidence suggests that children who are exposed to too much screen time can become irritable and fractious. This can mean hyperactivity and temper tantrums at bedtime which is something you will desperately want to avoid.
  • Constant screen watching can lead to reduced attention span and hamper memory. This, in turn, can affect learning and the healthy cognitive development of a child. Long term, this will also impact on their sleep.
  • Screen glare can put a strain on young eyes. Even as adults our eyes can get tired from being too long on a computer. So, the effect on a baby or young child can be significant.
  • The more children become accustomed to screen devices, the harder it is to remove them without a major confrontation. Which is the last thing you want at bedtime.

Some scientists recommend that children under the age of 2 should not have any screen time whatsoever. However, some see this as quite extreme. Tablets, televisions and smartphones offer entertainment and learning opportunities for children. But parents have to exert some moderation and allow screen time in small doses. More importantly, the content of their viewing should be closely monitored and be age appropriate.

Screen time before bedtime should be avoided

If there is only one thing that you take away from this article, it would be to avoid screen time before bed. I suggest a “clean window” free of any screen for at least 1-2 hours before bed. This allows your child’s brain to unwind from the day’s activities and to enter a more calming, relaxed phase as you prepare for bedtime. 


Full article here