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The impact of screens on the health of minors

Now in the midst of the Christmas season, children enjoy their holidays at home and therefore have much more time to go online and spend hours in front of screens, whether they be mobile phones or computers. Misuse of the digital world, however, affects physical, mental, sexual and social health. It also has an impact on neurodevelopment and learning during childhood and adolescence.

Screens undoubtedly have an effect on children’s health and today we explain the 10 most common consequences of their excessive use on minors, as defined by the family digital plan created by the Spanish Data Protection Agency together with the Spanish Paediatric Association.

10 consequences of excessive screen use on children’s health

1. Impact on sleep quality

Since screens stimulate and disturb rest, children are at a greater risk of sleeping fewer hours and having a less restorative sleep.

2. Possibility of causing obesity

As a result of the sedentary lifestyle that may be caused by excessive screen use, children engage in less physical activity and generally tend to eat more caloric and less healthy foods.

3. Visual fatigue due to screens

Prolonged or regular exposure causes visual fatigue and, as a result, the onset or worsening of myopia and the presence of red, itchy and tearing eyes may occur.

4. Back pain

When we use screens, we all tend to make the mistake of adopting bad postures that can cause back, neck and joint pain.

5. Anxiety

Excessive screen use can also lead to anxiety and behavioural changes due to feeling the need to be connected and finding it difficult to accept limits established by adults.

6. Decreased attention

How many times have you unsuccessfully tried to talk to your children? Screens have a strong appeal that makes us evade everything without listening to what is happening around us.

7. Impulsive behaviour caused by screens 

 Since screens automatically resolve all issues, problems or questions that children ask them, it increases their risk of being more impulsive, thus decreasing their ability to wait. Everything has to happen right away.

8. Social isolation

The individualism characterised by excessive screen use can affect how a girl or boy relates to their environment, not only because of their excessive use, but also due to the risk of high social comparison.

9. Risk behaviours

If, in addition to using screens excessively, minors consume content that is not appropriate for their age, this can lead to early sexual behaviours that are also high risk.

10. Changes in learning

Excessive screen use can also affect their ability to learn as well as their neurodevelopment.

As you can see, there are many very important consequences, which is why screen use should be limited as much as possible. This does not mean that you should prohibit screens, but they should be controlled to protect children’s health and development.