In an age of booming technological innovation, you can’t help but wonder about the consequences of it all. Surely, there will be a downside to these undeniable yet ever-excessive modern conveniences. Let’s face it, you can purchase a home, earn a college degree, and manage your finances all from your computer masquerading as a cell phone. So, it begs the question, “How much is too much?”
Any parent, myself included, can admit to the unique challenges we face in a digital age. In our home, we try to limit recreational screen time to twenty minute intervals, with exception given to illness. We attempt to bolster the time in between with enriching endeavors, education and physical activity, with no more than two hours total screen time daily. Of course this isn’t always achieved, but goals are important.
The Mayo Clinic writes,
“The recommendations are really to minimize screen time in children before age 2,” says Dr. Mattke. “Between ages 2 and 5, we would recommend you keep the screen time to one hour or less per day. And in children that are older than 5, we recommend trying to minimize a recreational or enjoyment-related screen time to two hours or less per day.”
Two hours or less a day applies to teens, as well. But the recommendations do not include educational-related screen time.
All this got me curious about considering the sources of screen time. Surely a wholesome movie on television has less cognitive stimulation than the whirring instant gratification of a video game. Or, is it all the same? Does checking your bank statement have the same effect as landing the next level in Candy Crush? Is it possible our vision or neck muscles are going to change over time? Will we see an influx of mental health concerns stemming from social isolation? Will we measure the benefits of technology for the sick or disabled? Does it matter at all if it’s educational?
Many researchers suggest it is simply too early to tell, however we are noticing some small changes. For example, some populations are showing a reduction in the mastery of motor skills displayed by previous generations. Perhaps we will simply adapt to these changes, and some skills will become changed or altogether obsolete.
So, what are your screen time habits?
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For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!
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