Too Much Screen Time In Toddlers Can Hamper Social And Motor Skills

Jan 31, 2019, 01:35
Too Much Screen Time In Toddlers Can Hamper Social And Motor Skills

"Our study shows that preschool kids who get too much screen time, on video games, internet-connected devices, television screens, and other digital mediums are among those showing delays and deficits in learning by the time they enter school at the age of five".

Mothers also completed questionnaires about children's progress with a range of developmental milestones during the course of the study.

Researchers, doctors, public health officials and parents are all trying to make sense of the impact of screen time on children.

The study warns that kids could run into problems with communication, motor skills, problem solving and social skills.

Researchers recommended that families consider putting together a media plan to manage screen time as a way to prevent excess use. These numbers are far more than the recommended screen times prescribed by the America Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society. The more time children spend in front of screen, the worse they did on development tests.

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Although previous research demonstrated a link between screen time and poor academic performance, new research confirms long-term adverse effects. The mothers were asked to report on the amount of screen time they allowed their children and it showed that on an average the children were in front of screens for 2.4, 3.6 and 1.6 hours per day at two, three and five years of age, respectively.

They pointed out that child development "unfolds rapidly in the first five years of life". "When kids are in front of screens, they are missing out on opportunities to practice their gross motor skills like riding a bike or running around playing", Madigan explained.

"Quality screen time is possible, but we need to take a look at what our kids are doing with the devices", Dr. Alex Dimitriu, board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California, told Healthline.

The authors urged health professionals to work with families to develop "personalised media plans" created to place boundaries on children's screen time.

Could this time be taking away from their early physical and mental development?

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That can be unsafe for a child's development, according to a new study. "Likely, yes", says Dr. Sheri Madigan, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary, and member of the Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), lead author of the release.

Spending time on a screen might cause kids to miss opportunities for learning.

"For those exceeding guidelines, parents can buffer some of the negative effects of screen time by ensuring it does not interfere with adequate sleep (which it often does in older children and youth), daily physical activity or active play, and plenty of enriching, stimulating and positive face to face interaction with parents and caregivers, and of course other children", Goldfield added.

As noted in The Art of Screen Time, it's best to enjoy screens, not too much and mostly with others.

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