It’s amazing how savvy young children are when it comes to mobile devices and entertainment technology. Their aptitude with electronics is admirable, but how much screen time is too much? Here, we address the risks associated with too much screen time and solutions for cutting back on your children’s tech use.
Excessive Use of Tablets & Smartphones
Nearly 40 percent of children ages two to four have used a tablet-type device to play games, use apps or watch videos, according to a Common Sense Media report. And more than a quarter of parents have downloaded apps for their child. The 2013 report also showed that the number of children who use technology on a daily basis has more than doubled since 2011.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that excessive device use has been associated with obesity, aggression and behavioral issues. For some reason, children light up when they see Mom or Dad’s smartphone, and it’s hard for parents to say no. In addition, many parents are fascinated at their children’s ability to master the device.
To put our love for tablets into perspective, Dr. Aric Sigman, a psychologist, told The Guardian that children born now will accumulate an entire year’s worth of screen time by age seven. He doesn’t exclusively mention tablets or smartphones, but their portability and ease-of-use makes them a top source of screen time.
The solution: As with anything, moderation is key. Avoid passive screen time. Use mobile devices such as the Google Nexus 6 for educational games or shared time together, and monitor the time your child spends using these devices. The National Association for the Education of Young Children suggests parents avoid using technology to keep children occupied and advises against giving children a device when they are fussy or throwing tantrums. If your child is upset, her or she needs the comfort of a parent, not a gadget or device.