Kids’ Screen Addiction: Methods to overcome

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Screen addiction needs to be overcome ASAP. It is your child development braking system which can lead to tragic consequences. Among them low concentration, disinterest, hyperactivity, increased distraction. These children don’t stay long with one business, switching fast and looking for new impressions. Diverse experiences they perceive superficial and sketchy, without analyzing and communicating with each other. They need constant external stimulation, which they used to get from the screen.

For many children who are used to watching TV, it is difficult to perceive the information on the hearing – they cannot keep the previous phrase and link individual sentences. Audible information does not cause them any images and sustainable impressions. For the same reason it is difficult for them to read – understanding individual words and short sentences, they cannot hold and bind them. As a result they do not understand the whole text. That’s why it is boring for them to read even the best children’s books.

Another fact, which many educators mention – a sharp decline in creativity and imagination. Children lose their ability and desire to be interested in something. They make no effort to invent new games, create fairy tales or improve their own imaginary world. They lack interest in to draw, design and invent new stories. They are not interested or attracted by anything. Inner emptiness is reflected in the children’s relationships. They are not interested to communicate with each other. They prefer to press a button and wait for new entertainment.

ekrannaya zavisimost metody eyo preodoleniya 1 Kids’ Screen Addiction: Methods to overcome

All these symptoms indicate the increasing inner emptiness, which require the external filling – a new artificial stimulation, the new “happiness pills”. There can be seen a direct path from the seemingly harmless children’s screen addiction according to other, more serious and dangerous types of addiction – computer, chemical, gaming, alcohol and so on.

But is it all because of TV?

Yes, if we are talking about a small child. When the TV screen absorbs all the forces and baby’s attention when television becomes the main source of impressions, it has a powerful distorting influence on the formation of mentality and personality of growing person.

Overcoming the screen addiction (if it has already been formed), alas, requires parents’ time and efforts. An intermediate stage of this transition can be listening to audio tapes and radio. Listening stories and tales of the child requires more essential activity than the perception of the video sequence, and at the same time does not require great effort. 

It is clear that the younger the child, the easier and more efficient is a “separation” from the screen addiction.

For a young child (under 3 years) is easier to restrict access to TV and (very important) to exclude the free use of the TV. The remote must be kept out of the reach of children. This is the only way you can limit children’s access to the TV. It is necessary that the TV has become a source of bright and useful experience, rather than a constant background of a child’s life. In the day time you need to allocate a certain time (no more than 30-40 minutes), when the child can watch television.

ekrannaya zavisimost metody eyo preodoleniya 2 Kids’ Screen Addiction: Methods to overcome

First of all, you have to monitor and regulate the viewing. To do this, select the films and programs for your child. It is difficult, because there are a lot of bad movies for children and just a little bit of good movies.

To children’s perception matched the slow pace of video, clear heroes’ voice, accessible and understandable stories, recognizable images and events.

You need to choose short video programs without serial cartoons.  Days without TV (TV-discharging days) followed by the promotion for the child are working good too.

If it’s a DVD cartoon it’s desirable to repeat it several times. The first time watch it with your child together, helping him/her to understand what is happening, comment and explain too difficult passages.

After watching TV you can discuss what you have seen with your child and make a small play with his/her toys, repeat characters’ replicas, their actions, etc. If the child will not be able to play along with you, show him/her the toy show based on the film, and then suggest a role in game (with or without a toy).

It’s important that the game has become more exciting experience for your child, because it requires great mental and physical activity, than just the passive consumption of video.

The first reason of screen addiction is, probably, the presence of TV as a background in your house. If TV is always on at your place, where is no way to wean the child from it. The maximum TV time for the 6-7 years old children is no more than one hour per day.

The second reason is to abuse TV programs as a comforting-entertaining tool for the bored child, especially while eating, in bad appetite cases.

One of the main reasons for “sticking to the screen” is the lack or absence of interesting and informative alternatives. It has been observed that well-playing children are not too TV-dependable, because they prefer to be active, instead just to sit and watch. Preschoolers with undeveloped self-play skill and no love for the active games, suffer of the hard screen-addiction. TV substitutes close contact with parents for the small child, his/her vital activities: playing, drawing, etc.

It is important for you and your child to realize the necessity of TV-relationship changes and make a firm decision in the family. To decrease the dramatic backlash, it is necessary to change the nature of cooperation between you and your child towards creative joint activities, to find exciting alternatives to the TV. To beat the screen-addiction you need to create a clear and attractive way of what are you going to do for the replacement.

Imagine what your joint life could be filled with? What do you like to do? Maybe you will find something what you have been dreaming to do. Perhaps, you will be doing some paper-craft, sewing or baking cookies. Shadow theater, that is easier to set up, than it’s seems, could be a wonderful vice TV. All preparations and the game can be shared even with the three-four-year-old child.

Co-operative game with adults fist, then with friends and, eventually, on your own is the most important way to overcome the screen-addiction. That’s for sure, screen-addiction can “drag away” not only children but adults also. But if you will be initiative and consistent, it will not take long to quit TV. You will feel it in three-four month. But the sustainable results can only be achieved after six weeks of your consistent actions.

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Of course, this path will require the parents of time, effort and imagination. But it’s not just useless pastime. When a child learns to play, invent, dream, he will be able to organize their own time, to come up with interesting activities, to create their imaginary world. It will not only be a powerful impetus to the development, but will also give freedom – not just to Mom and Dad, but also to the child and, above all, freedom from the screen-addiction.

Smirnova E.O.

Translated by Pavel Anokhin

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