WHO advice on screen time for children under five?

1.      That for children under one-year… sedentary screen time (such as watching TV or videos, playing
computer games) is not recommended and that when sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling
with a caregiver is encouraged.
2.       That children under two years of age should have no screen time whatsoever
3.       For those aged two years, sedentary screen time may be no more than one hour; less is better.
4.       That three and four-year-olds should not play with iPads or watch television for more than an hour
a day ( less is better).
5.       WHO recommends at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities for three-to-four-
year olds.
6.       Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children
will improve their physical, mental health and well being.

The nuances of contemporary society in the above context:

During our childhood, before 1960, there were no TV, video games, mobiles etc. Only radios were
available and that also one radio per 15 to 20 families. Apart from filmy songs at a predefined time, all
programmes were for knowledge and science. Our only pass time was playing all sorts of games starting
from early morning till late evening with  a break for school and when mothers caught hold for feeding.
In the school also there was one hour compulsory physical training. For PT there used to be a PT
Teacher, full attendance was necessary and carried marks in the examinations. Because of that we enjoy
better health at present than our children.
What WHO has recommended is very correct and must be implemented.
The problem is how ? Now majority of middle class  families are living in 2 bed room flats where TV is on
most of the time, If it is stopped the whole family will have to be denied TV. Schools are running in few
rooms with out play ground.
So, it is a big problem and the solution is very much elusive.
Children under FIVE years of age need to spend more time with their parents, trying to imbibe the soft
and hard skills of life over this period and beyond. They learn on the successes and failures of daily
activities of life and experiences too, which is called “imprinting in the brain”.
Many parents indulge in handing over mobile phones/tablets to very small kids to keep them distracted
and occupied in order to complete the task of mechanically feeding them …or getting them ready for
school, as a quick fix measure. This act should be condemned !
That the child in question cries inconsolably without such gadgets, is an unacceptable excuse

Digital Detox

This phenomenon / concept is in crying need of the hour.
The society at large has become a ‘ slave’ to the digital revolution and its nuances. We hardly see
someone who displays a considerable freedom from such digital devices in the present times.
Admittedly…the arrival of digital personal devices have revolutionized our lives in a big way….but the toll
it has taken on our lives is often immeasurable and disastrous. The moral decadence of society cannot be
ignored !

Signs of digital addiction and abuse…………………………………….

1. Engaged with a digital device of any kind, for most waking hours of a day
2. Strong distraction at home and at work place with digital gadgets..thereby causing interactive
issues with peers and those around. This goes to such an extent that house members sitting in
adjacent rooms are often found communicating through digital devices amongst themselves !!!
3. People are very often unable to feel comfortable without looking at their personal gadgets….
many a times….every five-ten minutes. Employees working at office are terribly overpowered to
check their personal emails and social media accounts, every now and then…to that extent that
employees cannot restrain themselves from gazing at their phones during Interview sessions and
important board meetings at office…IN PRESENCE OF THE BOSS !!!
4. People on their mobile devices who scan the social media very frequently feel a terrible urge to
respond to friend requests/postings/comments, to feel that they are of importance to the one at
the other end and that they do not lag behind in any way !! They feel tremendously relieved to live
in a competitive make believe world which is exclusively illusive.,..often bringing in frustrations in
their own lives !
5. School children many a time pester their parents to give them mobile phones citing silly reasons,
to which the parents relent without any after thought and then suffer the consequences in a bitter
manner..at a later date. Prior to the era of digital technology arriving in a big way….there were
generations of students and parents who never faced any problems in their day to day lives !
6. The situation has come to such a passé…that very often personnel in demanding
professions….for ex. Hospital / Aviation industry / Railway personnel… are busy with their
personal devices often at the cost of a set back/potential loss of money/time/even a life-in a few
cases.. to the served target subjects …!! There are many examples which can be cited on such
counts.
7. Crimes of any conceivable nature have arrived in the scene…which are principally committed by
the help of such digital gadgets and persons of all ages have become very vulnerable now to fall
victims of such unhealthy trends,including emotional / otherwise blackmailing, to make any digital
records viral in the social media. The society is grappling in a major way within the framework of
cyber laws and cyber judiciary regulations to grapple with such issues seeking and aiming to
bringing he offenders to book, in the name of justice.
8. Many people feel a vague subjective discomfort without access to their personal digital devices
around them and display overt features of bodily symptoms such as vague aches and
pains..headaches…lack of concentration….suppressed anger…improper sleep….lack of appetite
etc etc. They may get labelled as subjects with psycho-somatic illnesses to which the remedy
though simple , often stays elusive.
9. Clear health issues may overcome the well being of digitally addicted folks….in the form of
“Computer Vision Syndrom”e..affecting the hands/neck/eyes/body muscles in a significant way
following excessive usage of computer devices which require long staring in defective postures at
office/homes.

Suggested ways for a detox from the digital world………………………………..

1. Begin a practice of digital abstinence….initially for short spells..maybe an hour or so…and slowly
increasing it on a daily basis. The abstinence should be applicable to holidays also !

The results of such self-restraint get obvious over a period of time.
2. Parents to decide very critically in allowing their children the personal usage of mobile
phones/tablets etc…based on a no. of factors such as age/necessity/any tendency to
communicate with friends in the sly/duration of holding these devices on themselves/any
tendency to lend these devices to friends/associates for abusive use etc.
3. Parents of children of all ages should be checking on the Internet usage nature very intensely in
order to prevent them having access to obectionable/adult sites and make an effort to ban
such web access in their home/individual devices. Lack of vigilance on the part of
parents/guardians often lands up the concerned under age folks and family in an unanticipated
trouble to their already burdened lives ! This is very important with growing children at home
and should not be neglected.
4. Encourage people as much as possible in offices…..public transport modes…public places..to
engage in more of personalized conversation and exchange of pleasantries, rather than spend
most of the time hooked on the LCD panels of their devices in hand…!!!
Get back to the dying habit of wishing and greeting people on their face with a smile.
( The smiles should come back on their faces, instead of through emoticons in their digital
devices ).
5. Taking a short break from the mundane chores of daily lives……….when the digital devices are to
be totally shunned till normal lives are resumed again ! This shall be a welcome change which
the body may be craving for a long time.
6. Children and students should be encouraged to spend more quality time outside in the
playground at simple games which involve a good amount of physical exercising and running
around for improving their concentration at work and preventing that much hated complication
of ‘Childhood Obesity’…which gets over time transitioned to ‘Adult Obesity’ !!
Addiction to digital devices contribute to Obesity in a major way across all ages.