Excessive Screen Time Syndrome

02 January, 2021
Do you think your children spend too much time in front of a screen? They might be suffering from excessive screen time syndrome. In this article, you'll find out what this problem is about.

No medical or psychiatric manual has recognized excessive screen time syndrome. However, it exists and it has become more common within our society. In fact, many children spend considerable time “hooked” to new technologies. 

Due to this problematic situation, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends “replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good-quality sleep.”

Furthermore, it recommends replacing screens by reading, storytelling, singing, puzzles, etc. That is to say, replacing screens with educational resources that are more suitable for the proper development of children.

Excessive Screen Time Syndrome

Bearing all this information in mind, you might be wondering: “Do my children suffer from excessive screen time syndrome?” “What does this mean?” “Does it have any consequences on them?” Don’t worry! In this article, you’ll find answers to all these questions. So, pay attention and take notes!

Excessive screen time syndrome

The sedentary and digitalized lifestyle that is present in our current society is affecting the lives of the new generations.

As a result, children are born surrounded by electronic devices. And, if we aren’t careful enough, this can become a real problem. One of the most serious consequences of children’s excessive exposure to screens is excessive screen time syndrome.

Tamara Chubarovsky, speech therapist and educator, has come up with a Spanish term to explain this children’s addiction to screens: sindrome del niño empantallado. This term refers to the way children overuse new technologies, and how they spend too much time “glued” to the screen on their TV, tablet, video games or computer.

What are the consequences of this syndrome?

This syndrome affects mostly children from 0 to 6 years old, who are in the middle of their growing and developing stage. Therefore, some of the consequences of this syndrome are:

  • Risk of being overweight, because of the sedentary nature of staying for too long in front of a screen.
  • Loss of agility skills.
  • Difficulty in using imagination and being creative.
  • Difficulty in developing linguistic competences.
  • Inability to have fun without the use of technology. Becoming bored and apathetic in these situations.
  • Lack of interest in everything that surrounds them.
  • Difficulty in developing interpersonal intelligence.
  • Sleep problems.

How to deal with excessive screen time syndrome

To face this syndrome, parents have to spend quality time with their children without the use of new technologies.

They should think of fun activities to stimulate their minds and creativity, such as reading stories, singing songs, playing with dolls or board games, cooking easy meals, etc.

Furthermore, they should carry out any physical activities with them, such as walking, riding a bike, practicing a sport, etc. This aims to promote children’s physical and mental development.

Excessive Screen Time Syndrome

“When parents take honest pleasure in the company of their children, they become the best teachers their children will ever have.”

– Glenn Doman –

This doesn’t mean you should forbid your children from using technology. In fact, we have to accept that new generations belong to a digital world. However, we have to understand that excessive exposure to these kinds of devices can cause many problems.

Finally, you should limit the amount of time your children spend every day in front of a screen, and come up with other fun options. We know you can do it!

  • Vara Robles, E., Pons Grau, R., Lajara Latorre, F., Molina, S. M., Villarejo Romera, V. y Planas Sanz, E. (2009). Impacto del abuso de pantallas sobre el desarrollo mental. Pediatría Atención Primaria11(43), 413-423.