Kids today spend much of their time in front of a screen, be it a TV, computer, smartphone or iPad. Technology has many positive uses and can provide helpful information, but like anything else there needs to be a balance in how much time is spent using electronics.
Here are six things to consider when monitoring your family’s screen time.
1. Social Interaction. Personal interactions with others are limited and social and conversational skills are affected. Kids need contact with other kids in order to develop healthy relationships with each other.
2. Physical Health. Too much time sitting promotes poor eating habits and lack of physical exercise. Being too focused on a video game or computer activity interferes with intentional healthy eating. A child is more likely to snack on foods that aren’t nutritious.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state that infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day. Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences. Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children.
Many pediatric occupational therapists are requesting parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years.
Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban.
1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age. Stimulation to a
developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with
executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to
self-regulate, e.g. tantrums