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The Impact of Screen Time on Growing Brains

08/16/2019

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? 

Brain Development

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.

Learning to Talk

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. 

Physical & Mental Health

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. 

Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their media guidelines a few years ago to include the following guidelines:

  • For children under 18 months old, no screen time.
  • For children 18 to 24 months old, parents should choose only high-quality media and watch it with their child.
  • For children 2 to 5 years old, less than one hour per day of high-quality programming is recommended, with parents watching along.

Greenville Psychiatric Associates

Greenville Psychiatric Associates is a locally owned and operated private practice that offers a wide range of outpatient treatments for mental health and substance use disorders. Our psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists offer well-rounded, evidence-based treatment approaches to target most mental health and substance use disorders. Our goal is for you to feel better about yourself and your life. We also provide child and teen therapy, providing evidence-based treatment to children and teens with behavioral and/or emotional challenges. Visit our website or contact us today.