Excessive Screen Time Can Cause Developmental Delays by Kindergarten

Excessive Screen Time Can Cause Developmental Delays by Kindergarten

Excessive Screen Time Can Cause Developmental Delays by Kindergarten

The findings suggest too much screen time really can hold back children, the researchers said.

"Parents can minimise risks if screen time is child-appropriate, has educational content, and viewed together with the child", Tomopoulos, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

When young children are observing screens, they may be missing important opportunities to practice and master interpersonal, motor, and communication skills.

6 simple ways to get a handle on your kids' screen timeThe study simultaneously assessed child development at ages two, three and five by asking caregivers to complete the Ages and Stages questionnaire, which is a screening measure for a variety of different developmental outcomes.

According to the scientists, children should spend less than two hours in front of a screen, sleep between 9 and 11 hours per day, and be active to develop normally.

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A new study argues that's precisely the case - screen time can affect how well children perform on developmental tests.

Looking at children's development over time enabled researchers to solve what had been a "chicken and egg" question. "Parents should also be aware of how much time they are spending on their screens in front of their children", Dr. Dubicka added.

Earlier studies already show that heavy screen time may cause premature changes in the brain structure of children.

These numbers far exceed recommendations by the Canadian Paediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics - that children between two and five years view no more than one hour of high-quality programming per day.

Higher levels of screen time at the ages of two and three years turned out to be "significantly associated" with poorer test results at three and five years.

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Experts recommended no screen time for newborns all the way to two-year-olds, and then only one hour per day for kids older than that. "We would, in the light of this paper, reiterate our advice that families spend time interacting as a family, that screens are not allowed to interfere with sleep, and that screen-based interaction is no substitute for in-person contact", he said.

Earlier this month, Britain's Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health released its guide on screen time for clinicians and parents, stating there is "essentially no evidence" to support the popular idea that screen time is directly "toxic" to one's health.

Prof Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, said the study found less than 1% of children's variation in developmental scores was down to screen time. That also includes computers, gaming devices, and even TVs. Those who spent longer with screens at 24 months showed worse performance on tests at 36 months, and a similar trend was seen for screen time at 36 months and test performance at five years.

"Families should try to balance technology and screens with device-free family time", she said.

As for the parents who have already fallen into the pitfalls of too much screen time for their young children, Madigan stresses they need not despair. "When parents watch with their children, they can point out interesting things and contribute to language skills and learning".

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