Children under the age of 3 undergo rapid periods of brain development; studies have shown that over 80% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of 3. If we’re letting our children stare at a screen for such a large portion of this crucial time, there are bound to be significant effects.
Here’s what the National Institute of Health found
According to an ongoing study, children who do screen-related activities for over two hours a day scored lower in language and thinking tests. In more severe cases, they observed a thinning of their prefrontal cortex (related to critical thinking and reasoning) in the children. However, screen-related activities did not directly cause these changes.
Screen time narrows a child’s interests and prevents them from exploring and learning.
If your children spends the majority of time focused on a screen device (which we know are very entertaining), this leaves no time for them to engage in other activities crucial for well-rounded development such as:
- Pretend play to foster creativity and imagination
- Outdoor exploration to feed their natural curiosities
- Playing with friends to develop appropriate social skills
Screen time can also inhibit language development and communication
Research has shown that reciprocal dialogue with children is critical for their language development and social abilities. Children learn the most from reading and responding to facial expressions in conversation. Screens only provide a one-way interaction that trains your child to be a passive listener.
Moderation is key – screen time can be a great learning tool
We shouldn’t completely rule out screens, but instead determine screen time based on your child’s age. According to experts, when screens are used in conjunction with adult interaction i.e. discussing what’s happening on the screen, it can actually be a beneficial learning tool. Children are also growing up in a society that requires technological literacy. Hence, implementing the use of screens in a controlled fashion, such as we do in our schools, can be beneficial towards overall development and education.