Minimising screen and computer time for children

A child’s brain needs to be challenged with a combination of body movements and mental activities. When these varied challenges occur, the brains neural pathways form and develop. It’s all about balancing activities, a little bit of smartphone or computer use is a good thing. The main problem with computer games and social media is that they are designed to be addictive. The best strategy for small children is to minimise screen time as much as possible. At Heathland, we believe that pupils should not be on their phones during break times, and phones are certainly not allowed during lessons! Children should be playing outside and socialising with friends, or……

  • Reading or writing a fictional story.
  • Colouring and drawing.
  • Climbing, skipping and running.
  • Solving a maths problem.
  • Building a structure.
  • Dressing up.
  • Learning a musical instrument
  • Learning a martial art

Mobile phones and eye health

The sun was once the major source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in relative darkness. The cellular rods in our eyes, that work in low light, outnumber the cones by 10:1. But with modern-day living, our evenings are illuminated with smartphones, LED screens and artificial lights. At night, light throws out our biological clock. This is the circadian rhythm that is based upon 24 hours. Research shows that disruptions to the circadian rhythm contribute to cancer, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease and obesity.

Blue wavelengths are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost mental performance. But the blue rays are disruptive at night. Computer screens, phones and LED lights at night give us all excessive exposure to blue light. Even low light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. That’s because blue light stimulates your brain and fools it into thinking it’s daytime, potentially keeping your children awake if they use devices before bedtime. Blue light at night adds to sleep disorders, depression and health problems. The best solution is to agree a time when phones and devices are switched off. Most phones and tablets allow you to switch on a blue light filter automatically after a certain time.

Heathland Private School, boy on phone