By Chelsea Miller, BScN, RN
Screens are everywhere these days. They’re in your pocket, your living room, restaurants, schools, and even daycares. Screens are unavoidable in our growing technological world, however, screen time under the age of five can be detrimental to a child’s development and psychological well-being. Here are five reasons screen time should be limited in children under five.
1. Excessive screen time early in life can lead to poor lifestyle choices later in life, such as more sedentary time
Parenting is tough. The sleepless nights, toddler tantrums and picky eating is enough to exhaust a parent. Plopping your child in front of the television may seem like an easy way to entertain your child, and if you asked said child I bet they’d agree. Nonetheless, excessive screen time (more than one hour per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics) can have a negative impact on a young child’s lifestyle choices later in life. Children who spend more time in front of screens (including but not limited to TVs, tablets and cell phones) tend to be less physically active later in life, since healthy habits are established early on in life and tend to carry on into adolescence and adulthood.
Children who spend more time on screens are also less likely to use their imagination to find ways to entertain themselves, since the screen in front of them is effortlessly doing that for them. Active Healthy Kids Canada reported in 2014 that children three to five years old spend an average of two hours per day in front of screens. That’s two hours out of the day that they aren’t outside playing or engaging in healthier activities.
2. Screen time is directly associated with less sleep and poor sleep quality
Today’s children sleep less than they did a century ago, and twenty to thirty percent of parents note that their child experiences difficulty falling or staying asleep. This is likely due, in part, to the overwhelming amount of time children spend in front of TVs, laptops and other media sources. According to eight separate studies, sleep quality was worse when the child was allowed screen time in the evening. Screens emit blue/green light, which directly affects melatonin production, otherwise known as the “sleep hormone,” and a child’s circadian rhythm.
This is even more worrisome for newborns who are unable to produce melatonin on their own yet (so you may want to reconsider using your phone to keep you alert during those night feeds). Adequate and quality sleep in the early years is crucial to development, so make sure you’re providing plenty of exposure to natural light, especially in the afternoon. Afternoon light exposure has been shown to increase melatonin production in the evening, therefore regulating the circadian rhythm, leading to less nighttime awakenings.
3. Children learn from face-to-face interaction with parents and caregivers
Young children require interactions with parents and caregivers in order to learn essential life skills, such as language, emotions, and creative thinking. Children learn through interactive play, storytelling, and pretend. Going for a walk outside and identifying plants, animals and vehicles is much more likely to teach your child about the world around them than a TV show on a tablet. Engaging with your child through real-life scenarios is also a way to bond and strengthen your relationship.
4. Screen time can lead to hyperactivity and ADHD
In a Canadian 2019 study, children between two and five years old who watched more than two hours of television per day were 7.7 times more likely to develop ADHD symptoms than those who watched less than half an hour per day. It is estimated that rapidly moving objects on screens can make young children overly excited, leading to hyperactive behaviors. Shows or games with lots of bright, contrasting colors and quickly changing scenes can easily lead to overstimulation, therefore hyperactivity.
Young children are also less capable of self-regulating their emotions, so once they start acting hyper it is difficult for them to calm them down. ADHD is a growing concern in countries where screens are easily accessible, and when symptoms begin in early life it can lead to learning difficulties and social disorders down the road. Because developmentally appropriate, task-oriented play activities can be difficult for children with hyperactivity disorders, screen time is often a desirable activity, leading into a vicious cycle.
5. People are finding ways to inject “inappropriate” content into child-based programs
Hackers are a real problem in today’s society. How often do you receive spam emails or phone calls asking for your credit card information? Similarly, there has been an increase in the amount of inappropriate content finding its way into childrens’ programming. There have also been videos uploaded of seemingly appropriate cartoons, however the characters are engaging in disturbing scenes and spewing inappropriate language. In the popular YouTube Kids app, the alleged child-friendly version of the video streaming powerhouse, children as young as two are being shown weight loss videos, tutorials on skin bleaching, and even firearm and drug use. Make sure you always monitor what your children are watching, and encourage them to come to you if they see anything out of the ordinary.
How can you reduce the harm in screen time?
Completely avoiding screen time is not always possible. Here are a few ways you can help minimize the risk:
The Bottom Line
Screen time use as children grow is unavoidable. We live in a tech world, and it’s only going to keep growing. Even schools utilize laptops, tablets and televisions to provide educational content and entertainment. However, screen time should be limited to children under the age of five. Excessive screen time has been shown to reduce physical activity, sleep quality and length, and even cause behavioral problems.
Conversely, it can be an effective tool when parents engage in screen time together and choose programs that are age-appropriate and not overly stimulating. Avoid more than thirty minutes per day if possible, and ensure your child has ample opportunity for play, outdoor time, and parent interaction.
Chelsea Miller, BScN, RN
October 24, 2023
By: Emma Croft
The escalation of climate anxiety worldwide underscores a pressing need for pragmatic solutions. With each passing year, the stark realities of a changing climate are becoming more pronounced, compelling us to rethink our habits, choices, and lifestyles.
As the implications of environmental degradation become increasingly evident, the onus falls on both individuals and communities to effect meaningful change. Collective effort, informed decisions, and consistent advocacy are now more critical than ever. This article, courtesy of Courtney Southwick, shares eight actionable strategies for assuaging climate-related concerns and actively contributing to a more sustainable future.
1. Choose Green Cleaning Solutions
As consumers navigate a saturated market of cleaning products, discernment becomes essential. The environmental implications of many conventional cleaning agents remain obscured beneath their efficacy claims. However, green cleaning solutions, rooted in natural ingredients, emerge as a sustainable and effective counter.
Among the myriad of expert-recommended resources, Cleaner Digs stands out as a trusted guide for those seeking eco-friendly cleaning product recommendations. By aligning with such informed choices, your household can not only ensure a pristine living environment but also extend your commitment to planetary well-being, making cleanliness and sustainability complementary pursuits!
2. Prioritize Energy Efficiency at Home
Optimizing energy use within homes not only plays a crucial role in mitigating environmental challenges but also brings forth tangible personal benefits. You can significantly diminish their carbon emissions by transitioning to LED lighting, harnessing natural daylight, undertaking home retrofitting to prevent energy loss, and optimizing thermostat settings.
Moreover, these changes contribute to creating a healthier living environment, reducing potential allergens and improving air quality. Embracing energy-efficient measures also aligns with a broader global movement towards sustainability, allowing homeowners to be part of a collective solution to pressing environmental issues.
All and all, taking eco-centric measures can bolster environmental health and lead to marked reductions in energy bills, underscoring the dual advantages of environmental responsibility and financial prudence. Plus, homes often increase in value as they become more energy-efficient; this makes for a long-term investment that pays dividends in multiple ways.
3. Implement Sustainable Home Transformations
Modern architectural and design trends are seamlessly marrying infrastructure with sustainable practices. Beyond the typical integration of rainwater harvesting systems, green roofs, energy-efficient windows, and solar panels, homeowners are now exploring advanced technologies like geothermal heating and passive solar designs.
Innovative transformations like these not only reduce a home's ecological footprint but also enhance its overall functionality and comfort. Despite the seemingly formidable initial costs, the cumulative benefits — from substantial savings on energy bills to an elevated quality of living — serve as a testament to the long-lasting value and positive impact of sustainable home adaptations.
4. Foster Green Entrepreneurial Ventures
Today's entrepreneurial landscape is witnessing a marked shift towards sustainability. As eco-conscious brands across diverse sectors — from sustainable fashion labels to organic eateries and tech firms developing green solutions — gain prominence, the allure of joining the green revolution grows.
Learning how to start an LLC in Texas is crucial if you’re a budding entrepreneur in the Lone Star State. Establishing an LLC offers protection for personal assets while laying the groundwork for operational success. Integrating sustainability with savvy business practices can lead to a profitable venture that makes a positive impact on the environment.
5. Embrace Conscious Consumerism
Every purchase carries with it an environmental implication, often more profound than is immediately apparent. In an era of rapid consumption, you can substantially reduce your ecological footprint by:
There are immediate environmental benefits, but these mindful choices also support local economies and foster community resilience and self-reliance. Additionally, we can inspire our peers and family members to reflect on their consumption habits as we increasingly share and discuss our sustainable choices.
Such responsible buying behaviors not only safeguard natural resources and reduce waste but also encourage the broader market to evolve. Manufacturers and retailers become more incentivized to prioritize eco-friendly production and distribution methods as demand for sustainable products grows, which sets a positive feedback loop in motion that benefits both the planet and its inhabitants.
6. Promote Organizations With Sustainable Visions
Businesses with a clear vision for sustainability stand out and resonate more with informed consumers in the evolving commercial landscape. The power of consumer choice is undeniable; when channeled effectively, it can steer entire industries toward more sustainable practices.
You can influence the broader market dynamics by consciously choosing to purchase from, invest in, or even simply advocate for such enterprises on digital platforms. Plus, this consumer-driven demand often paves the way for heightened collaboration between companies, leading to shared sustainability goals and initiatives.
This groundswell of support for eco-conscious brands nudges other businesses to re-evaluate and adapt their practices while fostering innovation in green solutions. As the global community becomes more environmentally attuned, enterprises will recognize that intertwining profitability with sustainability isn't just commendable but is essential for long-term success and relevance.
7. Transition to Electronic Documentation
The repercussions of paper consumption extend beyond cluttered desks and overflowing files; they reach into the heart of our forests, significantly contributing to global deforestation. This over-reliance on paper poses severe ecological threats and hinder efficient data retrieval and management in an increasingly digital world.
Embracing digital documentation is a decisive step towards reversing this trend. Modern platforms now offer cloud storage solutions that ensure easy accessibility, coupled with advanced encryption methods that safeguard data.
Some digital tools also facilitate seamless collaboration, allowing for the real-time editing and sharing of documents, which reduces the need for multiple physical copies and iterations. You can minimize your environmental impact while also streamlining your operations by transitioning to electronic formats and harnessing sophisticated document management tools. In other words, you can achieve optimal productivity and safeguard sensitive information.
8. Engage in Local Green Initiatives
Communities worldwide are recognizing the profound impact of collective, localized efforts in championing environmental causes. These grassroots movements often serve as the foundation for larger, more expansive environmental campaigns, highlighting the undeniable importance of local action.
From participating in neighborhood clean-up drives and supporting tree-planting initiatives to joining eco-conscious advocacy groups, every individual's contribution amplifies the overall impact. Beyond the immediate environmental benefits, these endeavors provide participants with opportunities for personal growth, leadership, and community engagement.
Engagements like these can lead to tangible positive environmental changes and foster a sense of unity and purpose within communities. Actively participating means you can experience firsthand the ripple effect of local actions, inspiring others and further galvanizing the broader movement toward sustainability.
The Bottom Line
As the enormity of climate change challenges becomes increasingly apparent, it's vital to remember that change often starts at the grassroots level. The power of individual actions, when multiplied across communities and nations, can create significant positive shifts.
The momentum towards sustainable living grows stronger with each person taking responsibility and making eco-conscious choices. Armed with the strategies outlined here, you’re well-equipped to combat your climate concerns while actively participating in building a brighter, greener future.
Collective determination and action have the potential to usher in an era of sustainability, proving that today's efforts lay the foundation for a flourishing tomorrow. In this journey, every step counts, and every effort — no matter how small — contributes to the larger goal of environmental preservation.
By Rohini Kundu
Is your bad oral hygiene routine silently spelling doom on your heart?
It is increasingly well-known that oral hygiene is essential to maintaining your overall health.
Neglecting your oral health and avoiding the dentist will damage your teeth and gums.
Now, studies show that they might also damage your heart.
Gum disease and inflammation are now associated with increased heart attacks and strokes.
More than 80 percent of Americans are living with periodontal disease and aren’t even aware of it.
Read on to learn how to prevent gum infections from wreaking havoc on your heart.
How is oral health related to heart health?
Who is at risk?
Those suffering from chronic gingivitis and periodontal disease are most at risk of heart disease.
The risk is more significant when these conditions go undiagnosed and unmanaged.
Some symptoms of periodontal disease are:
Even when you don’t have noticeable symptoms, poor oral hygiene can still put you at risk of developing gum disease and subsequent heart ailments.
Treatment and prevention
Being proactive about oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease and subsequent heart ailments. Brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and regular flossing will help maintain your oral health. Make sure to go to your dentist for regular cleanings. Quit smoking and maintain a healthy lifestyle to maintain oral and heart health.
You can maintain a healthy lifestyle by:
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above of periodontal disease, consult your dentist urgently.
Studies have found a link between poor oral hygiene and heart ailments. Oral bacteria can travel to blood vessels all over the body and cause infection in heart valves. These bacteria cause gum disease and inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the mouth can cause atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke. Smoking is another common cause that can cause both periodontal diseases and heart valve diseases. If you notice signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, such as swollen and bleeding gums, consult your dentist immediately. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being proactive about oral hygiene will protect your mouth and heart in the long run.