Bincang Inspiratif: The Screen Time Conundrum
Screen Time Becomes a Concern for Parents in Recent Times
With kids learning online and parents working from home, it can be hard to keep children away from gadgets. But how much screen time is ok? And how do you drag your kids away from their devices?
In the latest episode of Bincang Inspiratif: The Screen Time Conundrum, our host Astrid Tiar chats with a pediatrician at Brawijaya Antasari Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Dr. Attila Dewanti, and discusses parental concerns about excessive screen time.
This episode covers:
– Impact of screen time on children
– The ideal age of gadget possession for children
– Parents’ awareness of giving children access to gadget
– How to manage a change of school system online to PTMT (Pertemuan Tatap Muka Terbatas or Limited Face-to-Face Schooling)
The Impact of Excessive Screen Time on Children
Young children need to develop in four main areas: Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Speech Ability, and Intelligence. But screen time does little to help. For example, kids needs two-way communication, but screen time is generally one-way. They also need sensory stimulation like exposure to different textures, which devices cannot provide.
Passive screen time can also have an impact on children’s emotional regulation because they don’t get social interaction. Children under the age of five years will tend to have tantrums when their parents limit their screen time.
When can kids have screen time?
Dr. Attila said that children are like sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear. This is where parents’ role is needed to give the right stimulations, proper amount of screen time, and quality shows to watch.
According to IDAI (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia), children under the age of two are not recommended to have screen time or own a gadget. Little to no passive screen time should be allowed, with the exception of video calls with family.
For children above two years old, the recommended maximum is one hour of screen time per day, the less the better.
With parents needing to work from home, using devices to distract the kids from time to time is understandable.
But in general parents should set consistent rules: for example one hour of YouTube or gaming might be allowed on weekends.
Parents also have to be creative to distract the children away from screen time. For example, ask them to help with cooking, washing the car, or any other physical activities away from television or gadgets. Eventually children will give two types of response: obey, or throw a tantrum.
For children who tend to throw a tantrum when screen time is limited, Dr. Attila explained that parents have to acknowledge the children’s emotions. If they are angry, cry, or hit something, parents can try to hug or hold their hands. Try to identify the overwhelming emotions that they feel while explaining why they are not allowed to spend too much on gadgets or screen time.
Getting ready for school
Children will eventually need to go back to school, so parents can help prepare them by arranging social interactions like sharing with friends, queue culture, and washing hands that children could not learn from spending time on screen.
Face-to-face interactions are important, but of course you should comply with prevailing health protocols.
Lastly Dr. Attila shared that screen time isn’t always a bad thing. Just ensure it’s moderate, and that it’s combined with physical activities and a good sleeping pattern.