What Parents Should Know About Screen Time? A Developmental Psychology Podcast Episode.
In this developmental psychology podcast episode, we’ll be looking at What Parents Should Know About Screen Time? This is a great podcast episode that you should find very useful.
This episode has been sponsored by Developmental Psychology: A Guide to Developmental and Child Psychology. Available on all major eBook retailers and you can get the paperback, hardback and large print copies from Amazon or your local bookstore or local library.
Note: as always nothing on this podcast or website is parenting, professional, medical or any sort of professional advice.
What Parents Should Know About Screen Time?
As a little prelude to this psychology podcast episode, I want to say the content of this episode is not necessarily the whole truth because as we know there is no such thing as scientific truth. Since we cannot be 100% certain of anything but this article does have research support. I’ll include a reference at the bottom.
In addition, as people interested in psychology it is always important for us to have modern attitudes and update our opinions and attitudes when new research comes to light.
Otherwise, we risk falling prey to the media bias and other undesirable outcomes. For example, the types of headlines that say technology is destroying families.
I understand where those headlines could be coming from since this was the thinking back in the 70s and 80s. But I strongly believe it’s fair to say that after the COVID-19 pandemic
technology has saved a lot of families.
Generally Screen Time Does Not Affect Well-being
In the grand scheme of things for most children screen time doesn’t affect their wellbeing positively or negatively. (Dienlin & Johannes, 2020) This could mainly be down to the hedonic treadmill, this proposes that people’s levels of happiness soon return to normal after a happy evevnt, as well as humans are very resilient creatures. And this we’ve spoken about a lot on the podcast before. Our resilience is partially explained by the hedonic treadmill.
Furthermore, if we consider the horrors that past generations have had to deal with. For example, wars, famines and other situations. We have to admit that screen time really doesn’t seem like that much of a threat to our wellbeing.
However, if we dive into developmental psychology a little further then yes, we know that excess levels of screen time can be associated with depression, anxiety and other mental health difficulties.
Yet for another teenager or child, screen time means they can live in a more connected and vibrant world. As the screen media allows them to experience things that wouldn’t get to in the real world. For example, watching videos or photos of far away countries, or talking to friends they don’t get to see too often.
Also, there is a need for balance because of course if a child spends hours on screen media.
Then this can lead to fatigue because they’re going to bed late. As well as their school grades can fall because they aren’t studying as well. So, yes, balance is needed.
Nonetheless, returning to the point about screen media and mental health difficulties. Sometimes children who seem to be suffering from the ill effects of screen media are actually using screen media as a symptom of their possible condition. Since children can use the media to hide from their suffering. In this case, screen media is a symptom of the condition and not the cause.
Meaning we, as people interested in psychology, need to make sure we don’t focus our attention too much on the screen media as we could miss the real underlying difficulties and the causes.
Conflict of Screen Media, The Need For Balance and Good Relationships:
Personally, I really do recommend that you look at the Psychology Today article I’ve linked to in the developmental psychology reference section. Because it goes into depth about how much screen time is good.
Spoiler Alert: we don’t know how much screen time good.
However, the entire point of this psychology podcast episode is sometimes parents are rightfully concerned about their children so they might argue with them about the amount of time they spend looking at their screens.
This is completely reasonable and I support the motivation behind it!
However, constant and chronic arguments about this topic can actually do its own harm.
Since this arguing can create a lot of conflict. Leading to a possible strained relationship between the caregiver and the child.
In addition, if a caregiver doesn’t have a good relationship with their child and they try to impose rules. Then this will result in the child rebelling because this will be seen as unfair. But if there’s a healthy relationship with the child then they’re much more likely to follow these rules.
Therefore, I’m trying to say caregivers should try and focus on building a strong healthy relationship with their child. As this is a protective factor against mental health difficulties and parents do need to pick their battles. And sometimes screen time is not the best battle to pick.
Finally, I wanted to wrap up this developmental psychology and clinical psychology podcast episode by saying, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Therefore, please do not get stressed out about this topic. Just do the best you can, find a balance and develop a good, healthy relationship with the child.
If you enjoyed this psychology podcast episode and want to learn more, please check out:
FREE AND EXCLUSIVE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET- https://www.subscribepage.com/psychologyboxset
Developmental Psychology: A Guide to Developmental and Child Psychology. Available on all major eBook retailers and you can get the paperback, hardback and large print copies from Amazon or your local bookstore or local library.
Developmental Psychology References
Dienlin, T., & Johannes, N. (2020). The impact of digital technology use on adolescent well-being . Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 22(2), 135–142. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.2/tdienlin
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