In an effort to try to reduce screen time children have access to, parents often reward their children for behaving like a good child with screen time, or in some cases a little extra screen time. But this may turn out to be counterproductive, as according to a recent study, it may not be a wise idea as children are likely to get addicted to screen time.
An increase in screen time gives way to a sedentary lifestyle which is often associated with a greater risk of obesity along with a dip in academic results and poor social life in later years. The study’s findings show that parents who allow their children screen time as a way to reinforce positive behavior or revoke it as a punishment spend more time on a smartphone, tablet, and computer or in front of the television than children whose parents do not.
"It's similar to how we shouldn't use sugary treats as rewards because by doing so we can heighten the attraction to them. When you give food as a reward it makes children like the carrot less and the cake more. Same thing with screen time," said Jess Haines, a professor from the University of Guelph in Canada.
For the purpose of the study, researchers observed 62 children aged between 18 months and five years and 68 parents. Published in the journal BMC Obesity, the findings said that on average, children spend nearly an hour and a half in front of a screen during weekdays and slightly more than two hours a day on weekends.
The findings also said that parents who spend time in front of a screen when they are around their children can have an effect on children having an increased amount of screen time. The effects were more severe when the mother spent more time in front of a screen. Mention was also made about children who were permitted screen time while they had their meals. Haines said, “Screens should not be a part of meals because this is a great time for the family to connect.”
We wouldn’t say we’re surprised with the results of the research. Are you?