We’re raising a new generation of children who lead device-driven lifestyles. While computers and hand-held devices are becoming more of necessities than luxuries, our children shouldn’t be inseparable from them. Two hours per day for 7-18 year-olds is the recommendation you should stick with.
A battle worth fighting
There may be parents among us who are battle-weary, having fought to tear our children away from their handphones, tablet computers and whatnot. It is always tempting to give in, believing that our kids will have to learn to be tech-savvy sooner rather than later.
Stay easy — up to two hours a day is quite safe, but beware the following health problems that could arise from too much screen time and poor tech habits, besides the risks of addiction:
Bad posture, back aches, neck and shoulder strain
Pain in wrists - carpal tunnel syndrome
Poor sleep patterns
Will overuse of electronic devices cause cancer?
No, there is no proven link, but as cancer takes many years to develop, current studies may not be the last word on the subject.
In the meantime, some researchers recommend that handphones be used a minimum 20cm away, and for limited periods, to reduce radiation exposure.
Smart habits for tech-smart kids
All’s not lost if we teach our children to develop good tech habits. Remember the two-hour guideline and you can keep the kids tech-happy and healthy, too! Try introducing smart apps like fitness trackers instead of games, or online apps for mindfulness or focus training, instead. Tech’s not all bad — it’s still a great tool when it comes to watching our health. In addition, there is much that we, as parents, can do to help, from setting time limits and organising alternative physical activities by age to providing the right tools.
What’s the proper posture for computer use?
The computer screen should be at or slightly lower than eye level. The main source of light (e.g. window) should not shine straight in your face or onto the screen. The keyboard should be at a height whereby your forearms are roughly parallel to the floor. Your elbows should rest comfortably at your sides. Use an ergonomic chair that allows your spine to hold its natural curve. Your feet should rest flat on the floor (you can also use a footstool). The mouse should be placed as close to the keyboard as possible, at the same level as described for the keyboard, so that your wrists and hands are naturally positioned. Use your whole arm, not just the wrist, when using the mouse.
Parents can also talk to their children about their own tech habits, share relevant articles, and introduce new activities.
Singapore has a wealth of outdoors-y places to explore. It’s time to pack the devices away, pack the kids up and discover our island’s many gems!
Don’t let tech hijack your bonding time with your child!
Giving up the best of the growing-up years to tech will only lead to regret. Create better experiences and memories to cherish, instead.
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Health Promotion Board