Over the next month, we at Kerry Moller at Associates have decided to share a series of blog posts about some of our most recent, favourite podcasts. Podcasts are like pre-recorded radio shows without the commercials or live callers—it’s just you, quietly listening to your favourite author, public figure, or spiritual teacher while in transit or resting at home. Listening to podcasts is a great alternative to spending idle time in front of a screen, especially for your children.
Screen time is defined as the amount of time you spend in front of an electronic screen: texting, updating your social media, watching TV, streaming movies from Netflix, or checking and responding to emails. Many people in our society are becoming increasingly aware of the feelings of disconnection and fatigue that arise from too much screen time. Notably, the risks that come with extended screen time are far greater when it comes to children and youth.
Statistics say that more than half of all the one year old babies in America spend an average of 2 hours a day in front of television or iPad screens. By the time these babies are preschool-aged, hours of screen time double. Some data suggests that children from 2-5 years in age spend as much as 4-4.6 hours a day in front of a screen.
Studies show that screen time is habit-forming: the more time young children spend in front of screens, the harder it is for them to turn them off and engage their brains in different ways as they become older. In pre-teens and adolescents, excessive screen time is linked to psychological challenges including hyperactivity, emotional and social challenges, and poor performance at school.
Enter Sparkle Stories. Sparkle Stories is an independent media company that offers hundreds of original audio stories for children through their website and podcast. These stories are simple, but engaging. Busy parents find relief knowing they can play these commercial-free stories for their children while preparing dinner or attending to household chores. Other parents love sitting down with their kids and savouring these tender tales together.
We hope all the parents out there reading this will enjoy this resource: Sparkle Stories
Additionally, here is some research on the benefits of reduced screen time:
- Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity
- Children who spend less time in front of screens in early years tend to do better in school, have healthier eating habits, and be more physically active
- Screen time at a young age is associated with later behavioural problems, but not if heavy viewing is discontinued before age six
- Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later years
photo: Kristin Horsman