The modern childhood is living with a dangerous reality of too much screen time that can have lifetime consequences. In many ways, experts have raised their concerns towards effects of screen time on toddlers. However, what these consequences are and what ways are to be adopted to navigate your child’s attention from digital media can be referred herewith.
What is a screen time?
The screen time can be referred to be as the time spent on the screen for multiple reasons, such as entertainment, education, or for recreation purpose. Thus, the real exposure to screen time can either be good or bad. The good thing is that it can really be fun in order to get the useful information in the smartest possible way, and the bad is that it can have many dangerous health consequences in children.
And hence, it is very important to maintain a right balance, when it comes to your child’s exposure to screen time; and reduce the effects of screen time on toddlers.
Research so far
The dangerous health connection between smartphones and humans is undoubtedly an acceptable reality by now. Studies have proven in multiple ways that longer exposure to screen time can have serious mental as well as health consequences. In fact, it would be quite surprising to know that many of the developers of these smart gazettes have expressed the guilt about their creation and have confessed that they would prefer their kids to be away from them. In this regard, a couple of recent studies have infographically highlighted the reality.
Studies have shown that reading can add up to some of the beneficial alterations in the brain mechanism, whereas the longer exposure to screen time is being linked with the not so beneficial shifts in the functional attribution of the brain. In this regard, when the children’s brain was scanned to analyze regions of the brain; it was clarified that poorer connectivity in social as well as cognitive functions is one of the major effects of screen time on toddlers. Contrary to which, reading can increase the connectivity.
Another study conducted in order to assess the screen time effect on brain development has confirmed that the brains of the children that are categorized in smartphones and internet addicted express altered ratio of one of the neurotransmitters GABA to other neurotransmitters, further tapping the addiction pathways in kids.
While considering the psychological effects of screen time on toddlers, experts could reveal a strong relationship between maximum screen time and depression as well as a suicidal tendency in kids.
The effects of screen time on toddlers
Studies have thus indicated that too much exposure of screen time for kids under 2 can be dangerous for good mental as well as physical development. Thus, it is highly important to monitor and control his/her limited exposure to screen time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrician, younger children of 2 years should not be exposed to screen at all. Accordingly, little exposure not more than 1 hour should be OK for kids above 3 years of age.
According to the evidence that has gathered so far, children with maximum exposure to screen time have been reported with sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, poor cognitive capabilities, obesity, and juvenile diabetes. Concerns have also been raised with their aggression, mood swings, depression, suicidal tendency and displacement of other healthier activity.
What can be done to reduce these dangerous effects of screen time on toddlers?
Set clear limits
As responsible parents, it is very important to closely monitor your kid’s exposure to screen time. Your straightforward and clear attitude should always work well for your children to follow you. Some parents should admit that their busy schedule is affecting their children by exposing them more to screens and digital media. While, it is always a work in progress, but it is very good practice to create an action plan for your family that should involve some family time with your kids to divert their attention to some constructive and healthy habits, like playing outdoor games, quiz, family meals etc.
Ask them to prioritize
Experts suggest that one of the good ways of minimizing the effects of screen time on toddlers is to make them learn how to prioritize their schedule. On school days the schedule should be completely devoid of TVs and iPads until they finish their studies and homework. Studies have suggested that many children consider iPad or TVs, especially when they are getting bored! You can cultivate their interest in outdoor games, extra-curricular activities or reading books, encyclopedias etc.
With the technological advancements, we are being exposed to both good as well as bad. As a parent, we can be able to incorporate some good habits and expectations, early on. Thus, it makes sense to take an overview of some of the important measures that can be incorporated, such as:
- Limit your child’s exposure to digital media by diverting his attention to constructive things.
- TV’s and computers can be kept outside bedroom.
- Your child should not be exposed to screen for more than 2 hours.
- Choose some educational programmes that can effectively benefit them.