Family Time Means No Screen Time.

After television became popular it became known as the “boob tube” because people could spend hours watching show after show, isolated from the world. Now with the explosion of smartphones and tablets family members are increasingly attached to their own individual “boob tubes” sucked into the world of downloaded television programs, movies, social media and an endless internet to be surfed. How many times have you asked yourself:

How do I get my children to put down their phones?

You and your family should unplug, spend some time together, communicate and work together on some puzzles and games. We understand the challenge but also the importance of some good old fashioned family fun. Doing so is just common sense but it’s also been backed up with academic research.

Children sleep more, perform better in school, behave better and get other health benefits because screen time is limited according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics in 2014, according to Iowa State University. Douglas Gentile, lead author and an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State, says the effect of limiting screen time is not immediate and may be difficult to recognize so parents may not think the negative reaction from kids unhappy with limited smartphone time will be worth it. But he says parents have a “powerful protective effect across a wide range of different areas” but the effects may not become apparent for several months.

The study found that with less screen time,

  • Children slept more resulting in lower risk of obesity.
  • With less exposure to violent media there was increased prosocial behavior and less aggressive behavior.

The study involved looking at the media habits of more than 1,300 children involved in an obesity prevention program. Parents and teachers gave feedback on habits and the effects of limiting screen time several months later.

Though the online world can be seductive to both kids who insist on being continuously connected to their friends and parents who insist on being continuously connected to work, the real world beckons. Take a time out, spend time together and because we all change, get to know one another. Working together on a puzzle or playing a game is a great way to connect with each other while the family disconnects from the online world.