Why Too Much Screen Time Affects Your Childs’ Health


Did you know that the brain develops the fastest in the first five years of a child’s life? The brain grows new neural pathways everyday allowing for normal development skills and thought patterns.

A study found that the amount of screen time children spend with a mobile device has increased 9 times in the last 7 years. That means that children are spending more time indoors, with a screen and not socializing more and more every year. What are the consequences of this behavior and how can we decrease this trend?

**Special offer – $50 off a new patient visit when you book with Dr. Alioto before February 28!**

  1. Too much screen time interferes with proper sleep and circadian rhythms. The blue light from screens alters brain rhythms because the brain interprets the light as daytime, which then affects hormones, sleep patterns and sleep habits. Additionally, the excitement coming from the content that kids are watching or playing, such as fighting video games or dramatic shows, stimulates the brain and decreases the calming hormones and neurotransmitters such as melatonin.
  2. Our children’s eye health gets to be compromised after long periods of time staring and focusing on a screen. The eyes have muscles like the rest of our body that when overused become strained and fatigued, causing irritation, blurriness and dry eyes. Children’s eye development is critical to future health.
  3. When we consistently are looking down or forward at a screen, our neck and back alignment adapts and changes. This change can cause neck, back and/or shoulder pain as well as something us doctors call anterior head carriage. This means we carry our head out in front of our shoulders and trunk instead of directly above it, putting extra strain on our muscles, tendons and bones.
  4. Studies have found a correlation between depression and screen time. This means that the more time we are on our phones, laptops, tvs, etc the more depression goes up and wellbeing and happiness goes down. Why? Well our brains are wired to connect with people, to create relationships, have conversations and thrive in a community. When we get hooked to our electronics, the wiring of the brain literally changes. We become inattentive oftentimes with too many “tabs” open and have a hard time doing one thing at a time. This can lead to difficulties in the classroom for kids and difficulties finishing tasks. Additionally, the more kids are on their devices, the less they are able to develop and engage in healthy social relationships. As you can imagine, this creates challenges later on in life in making friends or other relationships. Needless to say, monitoring screen time is important to create positive social interaction and healthy wellbeing throughout life.

Suggestions from Dr. Alioto to support yours and your family’s health:

  1. Set clear limits on screen time daily. I recommend no more than 2 hours per day for each child.
  2. In place of indoor screen time, encourage outdoor play, healthy recreation and movement. This will promote heart healthy habits, socialization and energy-zapping activity.
  3. Establish screen-free zones for the whole family, such as in the bedroom, at the dinner table and at restaurants. This will cultivate socialization and participation in family time and conversations.
  4. Enroll children in extracurricular activity to help develop their physical, mental and social skills as well as keep them healthy! Plus, it might give you as a parent time to get your own workout in!

I hope this helps support your health goals for you and your family. If this information makes sense to you and you would like more information on how to create a healthy environment, please contact Regenerate Health Medical Center today. Take advantage of our no risk next step by setting up your Discovery Call TODAY!

**Special offer – $50 off a new patient visit when you book with Dr. Alioto before February 28!**


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