How to Better Monitor Screen Time Usage
The average person spends on average 3 hours and 15 minutes on their smartphone every day. Smartphones have created a whole digital world for us; allowing us to communicate with friends and family, watch videos, check emails, find dates, pay bills – you name it, there is quite possibly an app for it.
As much good as the digital world has done for us, there have been some negative effects as well. Not only for you but also for your children.
Some of the greatest concerns of excessive screen time are how technology creates a social disconnection and an emotional detachment from other people. Research has shown that with just one week, children engaging in typical overnight camp activities, with no smartphone, led to a significant improvement in their ability to comprehend nonverbal emotional cues. It is becoming more difficult for children to understand these nonverbal cues, which negatively impacts their relationship and communication skills.
Hiding behind a screen makes it hard for children to practice the art of eye contact and face-to-face communication. Although technology has the potential to create relationships, human connection is key to fostering those relationships.
Delayed cognitive development in children has also been on the rise. The ability to think critically, self-reflect and use imagination may be impaired due to overexposure to digital media. One in three children enters school developmentally delayed, which impacts their academic capabilities.
There may also be a correlation between obesity and digital media usage. According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, limiting the amount of sedentary time in children ages 5-17 years lower BMI (body mass index) and reduces their overall health risk. Since screen time is a sedentary activity, reducing the amount of screen time for children could improve their overall health.
Seeing as apps have become so ubiquitous to daily life, there is also an app to help take some control over digital screen time usage. The smartphone application, Moment, shows how addicted to our phones we really are. The app shows the time spent on the phone throughout the day and how many times the phone was picked up. There is also a “screen free” time option that prevents phone usage at certain times.
Moment Family allows the ability to monitor a child’s screen time usage. There are all of the same features in addition to the others that allow you to set limits and even turn off devices. Allowing you to set aside time for a family dinner or activity without needless technological interruption.
The Child Development Institute encourages family meal and homework time, as well as engaging in activities such as playing sports and board games as essential factors to healthy and happy children. Moment makes this quality time spent all the more attainable.
Concerns may arise as to why Moment requires location data. The stated reason being that smartphone operating system doesn’t have a better way of discerning if you’re using your phone or not. Tracking screen time can only be done if Moment is running in the background. A direct quote from their FAQ page states that “Your location data is your private data and I have no desire to collect it or sell it to anybody.” Any information collected is transferred to Moment anonymously. The information Moment collects is used to improve the app and build average statistics.
On the bright side, there are numerous ways to combat society’s excessive screen time issue. Next time you find yourself idly scrolling through Instagram, put down your phone and chat up a friend. This isn’t only beneficial to your own health and happiness, but it might help your children as well.