Limiting the use of technology in today’s interconnected world can feel impossible because it’s everywhere. While smartphones make communication and learning easier, they also provide an avenue to unwind after a taxing day at school through games. But how much is too much?
Discover the effects of technology overuse and how to embrace the journey to limit screen time for your child with love and purpose.
What Does the Bible Say About Screen Time?
For many people, modern technology has changed how we communicate. However, few realize it has changed how we think and live, too. While there’s no mention of screen time in the Bible, Scripture has much to say about the need for self-discipline.
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left with no walls.” This verse reminds us to live a life of willpower. When it comes to screen time, you must guide your child when building “walls” or boundaries to manage the use of technology.
As a parent, your primary responsibility is to protect your child from harm. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Therefore, you must take action to ensure your child is safe from too much screen time.
The Effects of Too Much Screen Time
Excessive screen time is linked to several physical and mental health issues.
1. Irregular Sleep
The more time your child spends looking at a screen, the more likely they’ll have trouble sleeping at night. It also interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps ease an individual into sleep. Lack of quality rest can lead to increased appetite and fatigue.
2. Behavioral Problems
Playing video games can impact how your child pays attention, manages emotion, tolerates frustration and controls impulses. Additionally, kids who rely on social media for interaction may feel lonelier than children who enjoy face-to-face playtime.
3. Less Playtime
When a child spends too much time in front of the screen, there’s less room for outdoor playtime. It can also lead to sedentary behaviors, leading to a lack of physical activity and an increased risk of obesity.
4. Difficulty in Concentration
Exposure to screens for long periods can lead to concentration and focus problems. Your child may also need more motivation to complete homework.
5. Eye Problems
Computer screen time is associated with eye problems like computer vision syndrome, characterized by blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain.
Christian Parenting Strategies for Limiting Children’s Screen Time
Explore these tips for Christian parents designed to cultivate healthier technology usage in your child.
1. Follow the Recommended Screen Time
When it comes to limiting screen time, time management is vital. When you juggle responsibilities as a parent, it can be challenging to monitor your child 24/7. Remember these recommended screen times for children before implementing the tips below:
- No screen time for kids under 2
- One hour per day maximum for kids ages two to 12
- Two hours maximum for teenagers and adults
Spending time in front of a television is also considered screen time. However, this family bonding moment is crucial to enriching relationships. Some circumstances may prevent you from hitting these targets, but the guidelines above are great to keep in your back pocket.
2. Reading Time
When you work and care for your family, finding meaningful time with your child can be challenging. However, it’s essential to engage with your child every day. Take time to teach them about God daily through Bible reading or studying.
Your kid may not understand everything or stay attentive for long periods, but practicing this as early as possible will help them understand the importance of setting time aside for God. After each session, give your child space for response and assist them in understanding the stories.
3. Talk About the Dangers of Too Much Use of Gadgets
Your kid must be aware of the dangers of watching too much TV, playing video games and using their smartphones for long periods. Knowing the possible repercussions makes them more likely to stick to the rules.
When discussing the threats and negative impacts of excessive screen time, remember that children still don’t have the emotional capacity to handle online problems like cyberbullying. So, it’s best to tackle these dangers carefully.
4. Encourage Outdoor Activities
Children have engaged in play less frequently since 1995 and the rise of technology is one of the factors as to why. Children are more dependent on gadgets than the outside world regarding play. As a parent, remind your child there’s so much more than the online world.
You should engage your child to play a sport or see their friends outside. You can also include your child in worship services to broaden their understanding of God. The most important thing is to let your children have fun without involving a gadget.
5. Engage in Community Service
Invite your child to join you in helping out others. Talk and show them the importance of “loving others as much as you love yourself.” Community projects such as sorting items for donation drives are often appropriate for all ages.
You can also look for advocacy efforts about a social justice issue your family cares about. This way, you can teach your child that their voice matters and can make a difference on behalf of other people.
6. Create Tech-Free Zones at Home
Embrace family moments without any technological distractions. For instance, dinnertime is when all members gather and share stories. To make this more meaningful for everyone, you can make the dinner table a phone-free zone.
Make bedtime a priority, too. There’s scientific evidence that the blue light from smartphones disrupts proper sleep, contributing to poor performance and low energy. You can introduce new bedtime activities like reading Bible stories with your kids or playing a family board game.
7. Model Healthy Screen Time Usage
Before embracing these Christian parenting tips, leading by example for your child is crucial. Otherwise, they will not follow your rules.
During meal times, refrain from checking your email and social media. When bonding with your child, put your phone down and engage in the present moment.
Manage Your Child’s Screen Time Today
The role of technology in your child’s life has become significant. But as a parent, it’s essential to limit screen time with thoughtfulness, love and prayer. Try out any of these tips for Christian parents to help cultivate a nurturing environment for your child.