In today’s digital age, it’s not uncommon for children to be introduced to digital media at a young age. Babies and toddlers are often using tablets and smartphones to play on kid-friendly apps and watch their favorite shows and videos. While digital media can serve as a good distraction for young children during car rides and trips to the grocery store, too much screen time can actually be harmful to a child‘s development.
Though there is not much research on how digital media affects young children in the long run, warning signs are starting to transpire. According to a report in The International Business Times, children under the age of 2 actually learn better from real-world exchanges than they do from screens and videos. Though some interactive media can help children learn, they also deprive children of more valuable development opportunities. Frequent TV time reduces a child‘s development of social and language skills, and mobile devices are no different. Research shows children who spend more time watching TV at an early age tend to me less physically active, less social, and less engaged in schoolwork than children who’ve had less screen time. Mobile devices also replace the time a child would spend with direct human-human interaction, which is necessary for a child’s development. The more time young children spend with digital media, the less time they are engaging in creative play and constructive problem solving.
Another reason to limit your child’s screen time is it can be habit forming. The more a young child uses digital media, the less likely they will be able to turn it off later in life, research shows. Digital media can be replaced with hands-on-play and more engaging activities that will stimulate language development and social skills.
While 56% of parents of young children believe baby videos are beneficial for child development, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests young children are spending too much time with digital media and children under 2 should have no screen time with electronics, including TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones.
Many applications designed for children are labeled as educational, so some parents will allow their children to increase their screen time. If your young child does use digital media, it’s important that you limit their screen time and check an app before letting them use it. Also, include yourself in their screen time and ask questions about what they’ve learned from the app.
By Barbara Davis for The Healthy Moms Blog Magazine
About Barbara Davis
Barbara Davis is owner of TickleBugz, a line of plush toys and dolls for children of all ages. She has also authored a line of children’s books based on The Tickle Bugz and their many adventures. For more information about Davis and TickleBugz, please visit www.facebook.com/TheTickleBugz.