22 Feb Kids & Teens: The Benefits of a Digital Detox
As opposed to adults, children and teens do not yet have a fully developed frontal cortex, and thus aren’t equipped to handle screen exposure as well as adults.
While many of us grew up without an endless realm of online social networking, informational websites and digital entertainment to sort through, it is often a struggle to realise the full effects of digital addiction on your child or teenager until their behaviour and actions begin to cause problems.
Though a digital detox is an activity we highly recommend for everyone, the benefits of a digital detox for your child or teen is often a right step forward for their health, wellbeing and personal development. Our Veteran Mentor programs realise the power of a digital detox, which is just one of many aspects of our 9 day programs for 12 to 17 year olds.
Additional Sleep & Exercise
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average teenager spends more than 11 hours per day in front of screens. When you consider that is longer than they sleep or attend school every day, that’s a real issue.
Even more frightening, a portion of those 11 hours are not only during the day when they could be participating in sports or social activities, but also at night when they should be sleeping. Children and teens today are suffering from reduced sleep and physical activity, causing long term effects such as depression and mood disorders.
Less screen time leads to better, deeper sleep and additional opportunities for physical movement, which helps to reduce stress and improve problem-solving skills.
Better Personal Control
A crucial part of your child’s development is learning how to control their urges. From learning not to throw temper tantrums to making conscious decisions to study, personal control when it comes to technology can quickly go downhill if not carefully monitored.
Whether it’s a side effect of pure boredom or it becomes an incessant need to check up on the latest ‘like’ and ‘view count’ on various digital platforms, we all know how easy it is to lose track of time online. Taking a digital detox allows your child or teen to learn to control their urges, which leads to increased personal control later on in life.
Increased Positivity & Confidence
As if it wasn’t hard enough to avoid comparing yourself to friends, family members, classmates and celebrities, the digital age makes it all too easy to also compare yourself to the thousands of strangers you see online everyday.
The picture-perfect life we so frequently see touted online is even more damaging to younger children and teenagers, who are more inclined to be sensitive to these images and judge themselves, and their imperfections, against the people they see online.
A digital detox not only allows them to step back and see themselves in a more genuine way but can boost their personal confidence in a place where it matters most: the real world.
Less Instance of Behavioural Issues
Hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies have concluded the same thing: there is a direct correlation between the amount of time children spend online and clinical disorders like depression, anxiety, ADHD, heightened aggression and psychosis.
Hyper-stimulation caused by too much time online creates both mood and behavioural issues, and regular digital detoxes, as well as limiting their online time from a young age, can help decrease the chances for these types of issues to develop further.
Heightened Social Skills & Interactions
A research study at UCLA concluded that a digital detox improves kids’ abilities to read the emotional expressions of other people, a valuable skill in social development.
A digital detox can help your child better develop their emotional and social skills and can help them understand nonverbal cues and adjust their behaviour to appropriately fit the given situation. Not only will this lead to better interactions in their academic circles but help them to make more meaningful connections with friends, teachers, and their family outside of school.
If you could add up the number of hours per month you spend scrolling through your Facebook feed, watching forgettable animal videos and generally just wasting time looking at unimportant information, you’d be surprised at how much time you’re losing altogether.
For children and teens, this lost time is ultimately time they could have spent learning a new skill, improving an existing one, making new friends, getting ahead on school work, or simply spending more time outdoors – all of which lead to less unnecessary stress and a decrease in their tendency to procrastinate.