HomeHealth articlesscreen addictionHow Do Screen Habits Affect Children´s Health?

The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Children

Verified dataVerified data

5 min read


In this digital era, electronic devices are a large part of children’s daily routines, from entertainment to education. Read this article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At October 3, 2022
Reviewed AtApril 13, 2024


Digital devices for entertainment and educational purpose have made children addicted to screens. It is commonly seen that even from a very young age, the use of these devices has been an undeniable part of children’s life. A plethora of media content is created daily, specially tailored for each age group for entertainment.

Moreover, not only media content but there are so many different devices specifically designed for the interest of targeted age groups. Many of these help to attain good habits in children. Although, when parents enable these electronic devices for their children at a very young age, they learn to operate them on their own. Moreover, many times, to keep the child occupied with something or to do some routine work, parents make their child addicted to electronic devices. Technology, at the same time, can be of great benefit if parents can guide the child about its limited and proper use, but if a child is addicted, that can lead to so many psychological, behavioral, and physical health-related complications too.

Also, sometimes due to their busy schedule, the parents may not notice the changes their child is going through because of this habit. It is very important to keep an eye on the content they are watching and their daily screen time.

What Are the Problems Caused by Excessive Screen Time Among Children?

Excessive screen time can be the root of many complications in children related to their health; for instance:

  • Complications Related to Physical Health:

    • Dryness and Irritation of the Eyes: When the child is constantly in front of electronic devices such as phones, tablets, television, or videogame, it constantly strain the eye muscle. Due to brightness and loud audio, there are chances of developing vision and hearing-related complications at a very young age. Blinking is very important as it creates a clear film of tears on the eye to protect it from irritation and dryness. However, The constant focus on the screen can decrease the blinking of eyes while watching, owing to which the eyes can be dry and irritated.

    • Eye Fatigue: It is the condition where a person feels dim vision, discomfort, and headache due to increased screen time. It is also known as asthenopia. A person focusing on the screen for a prolonged time causes strain on the eye muscle and causes tears in the eyes. Children with this condition can experience headaches, pain in the eye, tears constantly rolling from their eyes, etc. Usually, when young ones are very interested and focus on the media content on an electronic device, they constantly focus without even blinking, and this causes eye fatigue.

    • Nearsightedness: It is commonly seen that this condition develops in children who do not like playing outdoor games or playing outside. These children usually have hobbies of reading or, more commonly, using excess screen time watching entertainment content. Moreover, many studies show that ultraviolet light outdoors can help to keep healthy eyesight in young ones. So, when the children only indulge in indoor activities, they either go with books or electric devices for entertainment, and excessive use of either can cause vision problems such as nearsightedness.

    • Obesity: There is an inversely proportional correlation between using electronic media and an active lifestyle. Children tend to be more inactive and lazy when they are more inclined towards indoor activities like online gaming or watching television. Moreover, they tend to have more than regular consistency of meals and snacks due to constant screen time. Altogether, these habits lead to weight gain and obesity. Moreover, social media advertisements attract them to junk and processed food, making the situation even worse.

    • Indigestion: When children eat their lunches and snacks in front of the screen, they do not focus on chewing the food. Improper chewing can create many digestive problems, such as gas or diarrhea.

    • Late Speech: When a child is developing speech at a younger age, interaction with parents can encourage and develop their speech. However, in the case where he spent all his time in front of the screen, there are chances of developing speech very late.

  • Complications Related to Psychological Health:

    • Social Awkwardness: Outdoor activities not only help develop children's physical health but also develop their social skills. When children spend most of the time in front of the screen, they usually do not go for outdoor activities, which deprives them of social interaction with other children.

    • Mood Problems: Children develop many mood-related changes due to sleep-related issues and constantly spending time in front of the screen. One of which is cranky and nagging nature. Even the content they watch on the internet engraves a deep impression on their developing mind. Such as, when a child sees media content related to violence, they might develop violent nature at a later age.

    • Negative Stereotype: When children spend a good amount of time on the internet, parents need to filter their searches. Because of many negative and positive contents on the internet and its naive nature, there are chances of misleading them from the right path.

    • Emotional Impact: As discussed above, the content on the internet is a powerful tool. It can either educate the child or can disturb their emotional development.

    • Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Add or Adhd): Due to limited intellectual development and exceeding screen time, many children develop psychological conditions like ADHD where it is difficult to focus or remember. Children with this condition are usually dull in academics with poor social skills.

    • Poor Academics: When children spend more time on screen, they usually do not enjoy reading books or participating in intellectual activities. Kids can be gifted with books available online from childhood to encourage reading habits.

    • Insomnia: Due to prolonged screen time, children have hyperactivity in their brain thoughts that leads to insomnia. This can lead to long and sleepless nights for them and their parents. Additionally, bedtime television watching can keep the child sleep-deprived which causes a whole new set of complications related to health.

How to Manage Screen Time for Children?

  • The 20-20-20-20 Rule: Due to prolonged concentration on screen, children can face many health (eye) related complications. To break the focus on the screen, parents should ask them to follow this rule. During this, they are asked to break their concentration on the screen every 20 minutes and encouraged to focus 20 feet away on some other thing and look at it for at least 20 seconds while blinking 20 times. The other two stand for every day, two hours of playing outdoors.

  • Screen Size and Distance: If the children are constantly using their screen for longer hours, parents should ask them to keep their mobile device at least one foot away from their eyes, the laptop or tablet should be at least two feet away, and they should sit at least ten feet away from the television.

  • Eliminate Glare: The glare on the screen can strain the eyes of the person watching the screen constantly, affecting children’s eyes even more. Even if screen time is required for them, the parents should at least look for the appropriate brightness of the device and a comfortable viewing position for children.

  • Keep Electronic Devices Out of Bedrooms: Children should be restricted from watching anything on an electronic device for at least two hours from bedtime. This promotes mental peace and gives them proper sleep at night.

  • No Eating in Front of Screen Rule: When children eat in front of the screen, they eat more than their appetite without even chewing the food properly. This creates many health-related issues like weight gain and digestive problems in them. So, parents or caregivers should restrict screen time when eating food.


Using electronic devices not only comes with cons but also has many pros, such as intellectual development in children. Furthermore, due to academic and educational use, it is impossible to restrict complete screen time in children. However, if the parents, teachers, or caregivers keep an eye on the quality of the content and the amount of content they are watching, this problem can be managed. Counselling the children and parents about managing screen time can also be helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Is Screen Time Bad?

Screen time is considered harmful for individuals using much of it. The studies show a link between greater levels of screen time and certain symptoms of depression. Another study validates that watching YouTube videos and playing video games can be associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Excessive degrees of screen time can result in certain conduct disorders in the case of preteens.


What Is the Effect of Excessive Screentime on the Brain?

Excessive degrees of screen time might inhibit a person’s ability to observe and experience the routine everyday activities they should be engaged in. Screen time affects the brain by overloading the sensory system, depleting cognitive reserves, and influencing attention. Scientific experts say that insight into what happens on the screen results in impoverished stimulation of the brain in comparison to real events.


How Is Mental Health Affected By Screen Time ?

The study results show that screen time can lead to negative mental health. The common effects of excessive screen time usage include brain fog, anxiety, depression, and certain behavioral disorders. Playing video games and viewing YouTube videos can lead to a condition called obsessive-compulsive disorder in most cases. Screen time also affects the ability to regulate media consumption, harassment, and self-isolation.


Name Five Common Effects of Excessive Screen Time?

Too much screen time is bad for physical health, such as vision and mental health. The common effects of excessive screen time include the following:

- Sleep problems.

- Anxiety.

- Depression.

- Obesity.

- Long-term neck pain.

- Long-term back problems.

- Lower academic scores in children.


Is Excessive Screen Time Good for the Kids?

Limited screen time usage is considered good for children, while excessive usage can harm physical and mental health. The children must confine the screen time to one to two hours per day. So, screen time can help kids develop social, creative, communication, and problem-solving skills. The ways to utilize screen time for learning are making videos, taking pictures, teaching peers, and using online maps.


What Are the Risks Associated With the Kid Using a Mobile Phone?

Using mobile phones can result in mild conditions leading to insomnia in children. They get tempted to check their phones most times of the day. The beeps and vibrations could affect their sleep. So, excessive mobile phone usage could result in sleep deprivation, causing serious mental health ailments in children below nineteen years of age. They could affect brain activity, academic performance, and behaviors.


How Does Screen Time Affect Memory?

Excessive degrees of screen time are known to modify the gray matter and the white ones on the brain. This could raise the risk of certain mental conditions, impairing the gathering of learning and memories. Such impairments are regarded as significant risk factors for dementia. Therefore, excess screen time over time can cause memory impairments. So, one should limit daily screen time usage.


Should Parents Control Screen Time?

Excessive screen time is paramount and associated with certain health problems such as obesity, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral disorders. Subsequently, excessive screen time usage negatively influences a child's sleep patterns. So, The experts say that parents should confine the child’s screen time usage, and they add that screen time should never compensate for parental interaction with the kid.


How Can One Limit Their Screen Time?

The following ways could help reduce screen time.

- Keep track of the screen time daily.

- Set time limits.

- Stand more while sitting less often.

- Pay attention to the posture.

- Avoid eating in front of the screen.

- Take routine stretches.

- Turn off the notifications.

- Turn off the mobile phone two hours before going to sleep.


Is There Any Effect of Excessive Screen Time on Behavior?

Screen time in excess degrees can lead to certain mental health and conduct disorders. Medical research says that children exposed to screen time showed a short span of nighttime sleep compared to those with little or no exposure. So, too much screen time usage among children and teenagers could adversely affect behavior and cognitive performance. Moreover, excessive screen timing has been associated with school issues, aggression, depression, anger, frustration, and certain emotional disturbances.


In What Ways Can Children’s Screen Time Limited?

Here are some effective ways to reduce screen time for children.

- Encourage unstructured playtime.

- Give them a tech-free area and time.

- Never encourage the use of media and video games during homework hours.

- Set the daily screen time limits and implement them.

- Divert the children by giving them the art and craft works.


Name Five Different Types of Screen Time?

The five distinct types of screen time include the following.

Social: Video-chatting with peers and using social media.

Passive Consumption: Watching television and listening to the radio.

Interactive Consumption: Browsing the internet, seeking information, and playing video games.

Educational: Using devices for educational purposes and for making digital art.

Other Usages.


Does Screen Time Have an Effect on Social Skills?

Screen time also has social physical, and mental health effects. So, excess screen time could reduce human-to-human interaction, limiting social skills. Nowadays, it is becoming rare to notice children utilizing their imaginations and playing in the field. In contrast, it has become more common to see younger children getting endorsed in screen time. The children get rare events to interact with their peers as screen time influences them. So, parents should take the first step in limiting screen time and sticking to them for their children.


Do Mobile Phones Have an Adverse Effect on the Brain?

The screen time I. Moderate degrees are considered fine, but excessive degrees could lead to negative effects. Any practices done out of moderation are considered a cause for concern. Mobile phone radiation is regarded as a potential human carcinogen. So, radiation from the mobile phone can cause brain tissue damage resulting in cognitive and behavioral conditions. The serious negative consequences of excess mobile phone usage include nerve injury, brain cancer, and certain tumors.


Are Vision Affected by Too Much Screen Time?

The clinical findings say that individuals of all ages blink less often while using screen time. This could cause the eyes to dry out eventually. Moreover, spending too much time viewing and scrolling mobile screens can lead to profound eye strain. Blue light from the screen is considered unhealthy for vision. Such conditions are termed digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. Excess phone usage can also cause eye fatigue. So, one should limit screen time.


Is Sleep Affected by Screen Time?

Screen time moderation can affect one’s health in different aspects. It tends to affect one's sleep. Certain studies show that two or more hours of screen time during evening hours influence the melatonin surge required for falling asleep. So, one should consider shutting down all electronic devices, including mobile phones, for at least an hour to two before moving on to bed.

Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham



screen addiction
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on

screen addiction

Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy