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  • Writer's pictureDr. Melissa Adams

Parental Screen Use & Early Adolescent Screen Use


child laying on a mat appearing to talk to someone via a tablet

We all know children model their parents, something obvious if you have ever been around a toddler before! They model what a parent says, their body language, how they stand, what they eat, etc.


As children grow older and begin to be more independent, we tend to forget about this aspect of parenting, but it is still there. They are watching, listening, and modeling their parents in all aspects of their lives - that is how humans learn many things!


Let's talk screens and children (yes, a bit of a "hot topic" in most homes these days!).


Studies have shown that too much screen time for children can lead to things like mental and physical health difficulties as well as sleep problems and overall sedentary behavior.


Although we live in an ever-increasing digital world and screens cannot be avoided completely, too much screen time is having a significantly negative impact on the development, health, and wellness of our children which is sure to impact their lives well into adulthood, if not forever.


Part of a parent's job is to model appropriate behavior and this includes things like managing screen time, but what, if any, impact does a parent's screen use have on a child's screen use? A LOT, as it turns out.


This study found that if a parent is using screens during family mealtimes and bedtimes, their adolescents had more screen time as well, including social media, video games, and general cell phone use.


Many parents use screens to try to control their child's behavior, using it as a way to reward their child or to discipline. Losing their screen privileges if they have poor grades or they gain screen privileges if they get their chores done. Unfortunately, this approach was also shown to increase adolescent "...screen time and problematic video game use."


So what may be a better approach? Those parents who actively monitored their child's screen time had children who were using screens much less than the other group, they had less social media and cell phone - a huge plus for their children!


Additionally, limit setting their child's screen time was also associated with less overall screen time, including less social media, video game, and cell phone usage.


It seems as though monitoring and limiting a child's screen time is the way to go, if parents would like to actively decrease their child's screen use.


If the above information was not convincing enough, addiction like behaviors have also been seen in children with excessive screen time ...


"Problematic screen use can be characterized by addiction-like traits such as tolerance (e.g., feeling the need to use more and more), relapse (e.g., trying to reduce use but unable to), mood modification (e.g., use to forget about problems), salience (e.g., spending a lot of time thinking about use), and conflict (e.g., use has had a bad effect on schoolwork or job), which may disrupt daily functioning."


A great step in helping your child have the future they deserve would be to decrease your screen time and monitor and limit your child's screen time.



**This is not medical advice, please speak with your chiropractor concerning chiropractic care, and your PCP concerning lifestyle/dietary changes**

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