Among toddlers, spending a lot of time staring at screens is linked with poorer performance on developmental screening tests later in childhood, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal of American Pediatrics last month, found a direct association between screen time at ages 2 and 3 and delays in development between ages 3 and 5. “This study shows that, when used in excess, screen time can have consequences for children’s development. Parents should think of screens like they do giving junk food to their kids: In small doses, it’s OK, but in excess, it has consequences.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limits on screen use for preschool children ages 2 to 5 to just one hour a day of high-quality programming. The AAP notes that all children and teens need at least around 8 hours of sleep, one hour of physical activity and time away from media each day. It is notable that screen time reduces both children’s sleep even at this early age and reduced parents’ reading to children, which we know is a strong predictor of positive child outcomes, such as higher IQ,” says Douglas Gentile, an Iowa State University professor who has studied the effects of media on children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers guidelines to help families with the management of children’s screen time. Those guidelines include avoiding digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months. Overall, “the good news is that screen time is something parents can control,” Gentile said. “In other studies, we’ve found that when parents put limits on the amount and content of children’s screen media, it is a powerful protective factor for a wide range of children’s health and wellness indicators.”
~ taken from a report by Jacqueline Howard, CNN (Click here for the full report.)