Taking away screens – TV, computer and phone – and reading to children boosts brain development, and science is proving it. Our Medical Director was featured earlier this month on News4Jax where he shared striking brain imagery of young children and shared tips for getting books into the hands of children.
With screens everywhere, controlling your child’s screen time can be challenging. To further complicate the issue, some screen time can be educational for children and help support their social development. So how do you manage screen time? Here’s a primer:
Unstructured playtime is more valuable for a young child’s developing brain than is electronic media. Children younger than 2 are more likely to learn and remember information from a live presentation than they are from a video.
By age 2, children can benefit from some types of screen time, such as shows or videos with music, movement and stories. When you watch these together, you can help your child understand what he or she is seeing and how to apply it in life. But remember, passive screen time shouldn’t replace reading, playing or problem-solving.
As your child grows, keep in mind that too much poor-quality screen time has been linked to:
- Irregular sleep schedules
- Behavioral problems
- Loss of social skills
- Less time for play
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use, except for video chatting with relatives, by children younger than 18 to 24 months. If you do introduce digital media to children this young, make sure it has high quality content and avoid leaving them alone to watch it. For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.
Limiting all screens – TV, computer and phone – and reading to children boosts brain development, and science is proving it.
As your child grows, remember that a one-size-fits-all approach usually won’t work. You’ll need to decide how much media to let your child use each day and what’s appropriate.
Watch the video where Dr. Raheja discusses the impact of screen time in children.