The Child Health Network presented an informational night for parents and health professionals at the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre on May 5th.
Along with a panel of child health experts, Dr Heidi Chin discussed the impacts of screen time on the physical development of children- the good, the bad and strategies for their use to achieve a balance.
The Australian Health Department guidelines recommends children over the age of 2 years spend <2 hours looking at screens daily, but a study conducted at UWA found 45% of 8 year olds were already exceeding the limit. This proportion climbed to 80% for children aged 15.
In fact, if we count all media outlets, 8-18 year olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day!
With the given surge in social media engagement and school derived use of screen based devices in this digital age, there are now growing concerns for the long term impact of children and adolescents in relation to their physical, mental and social health.
From a Podiatric perspective, excessive screen time may affect muscular, soft tissue and bony development, causing increased injuries during sporting activities. Factors influencing sports injury and recovery outcomes (posture, biomechanics abnormalities, strength, flexibility and endurance) cannot be overcome in front of a screen.
Some take home tips to help find a balance in your household:
- Time spent on screen= time spent outdoors. Active play is recommended for muscular and bony development.
- Set screen time limits.
- Model positive screen time behaviour in your home. Kids learn good habits from you.
- Don't let screen time become a reward or habit
- Set tech free zones.
- Be aware of Posture and set up screens at eye level and at least elbow distance away.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about events run by Pulse Podiatry and the Child Health Network through the Facebook page.
Child Health Network Panel of speakers