2021 and on… Always United & Always Serving
ST DUNSTAN'S COLLEGE
Term 3 - Issue 3
From the Headmistress’s Desk
Over the last few months, I have had many conversations with the Pre-School children.
Casual chats in the playground often lead to deep thoughts and in-depth dialogues with profound deliberations from the little ones. We have worked out why the sand in the sandpit is a different colour to the sand under the tyres, we have debated the motion of the swings and solved the problems of why the flat soccer balls don’t bounce. While I usually encourage the children to take the lead in these conversations, recently I have found myself needing to redirect
many conversations away from age-restricted topics.
Age-restricted screen time does not only refer to X-rated topics but to any kind of viewing with potentially harmful content. Children are impressionable and often imitate what they see and hear on TV, music, video games and cell phones. As parents, you have the freedom to choose what your children do and don’t watch, but is very important to be aware of the influence and lasting effects which inappropriate content can have on our little ones.
While it is often difficult to avoid screen time, not only does it steal time for activities that actually develop skills such as
language, creativity, motor, and social skills, which are developed through play, exploration, and conversation, but the
young child’s brain is just not developed enough to process the information they are seeing.
Consequences of too much screen time include the following:
- Numbs a child’s mind as it prevents your child from exercising initiative, being intellectually challenged, thinking
analytically, and using imagination.
- Has an effect on pre-reading skills as children who watch TV are also less likely to read books.
- Research shows that children who are bombarded by background TV noise in their homes have trouble paying
attention to voices when there is also background noise.
- Children who watch a lot of TV have trouble paying attention to teachers because they are accustomed to
the fast-paced visual stimulation on TV.
- Children who watch TV more than they talk to their family have a difficult time adjusting from being visual learners
to aural learners (learning by listening). They also have shorter attention spans.
- Excessive television watching among children has been shown to decrease attention and cognitive functioning
and to increase behavioural problems and unhealthy eating habits.
- A long-term study conducted by the Millennium Cohort Study and published in 2013 found that children who
watched more than 3 hours of television, videos, or DVDs a day had a higher chance of conduct problems, emotional
symptoms and relationship problems by age 7 than children who did not.
- TV exposes your children to negative influences, and promotes negative behavior. TV shows and commercials
usually show violence, alcohol, drug use and sex in a positive light. These early impressions determine how a child sees the world and children who are more exposed to media violence behave more aggressively.
With this in mind, I urge you to not only monitor what your children are watching, but to limit the time they have access to screen time.