Screen time addiction has become a widely discussed topic in the past few years. Have you ever wondered if screen time is negatively affecting your child’s growing brain? It can be so easy to settle down a fussy or rambunctious child by handing them a tablet with their favorite show playing, but how is it actually affecting them?
In the first year of a child’s life, their brain is growing substantially. If they are exposed more to screens than actual interaction, there is significantly less stimuli. For example, you may have your child watch a video of a ball rolling across the screen. In this two-dimensional situation, there is no tactile or other stimuli. On the other hand, if the child plays with a real ball, they will experience three dimensions that can not be replicated on a screen.
The best way to get a child to learn how to talk is by interacting and talking to them. If they are watching a screen, they are not receiving that face-to-face human interaction that helps them learn about facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc. These are all essential processes in learning how to talk.
A sedentary lifestyle is bad for children’s and teen’s physical health. Being active rather than sitting in front of a screen for long periods of time promotes better health and well-being. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to poor physical fitness, lower self-esteem, and poorer academic achievement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their media guidelines a few years ago to include the following guidelines:
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