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Parents do not listen to guidelines about how much time with technology their children should be getting

Posted February 22, 2018

Scientists are researching technology and how it is impact healthy development of children. When they find something that may have a negative effect on children, they have no other ways of preventing it other than writing guidelines for parents. But are they following them?  A new research from The University of British Columbia showed that parents allow their children to use technology more that scientists would advise.

Toddler under 2 years of age really should not get any screen time at all. They should be running and spending time with their parents. Image credit: Julian Tysoe via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Guidelines from the Canadian Pediatric Society suggested that children of two and under should not be using technology. It may have a negative impact on their healthy development and realistically there is no reason for a two year old toddler to be using a smartphone anyway. These guidelines are easily available in Canada, but, as this new study shows, parents are still not following them. Scientists surveyed 242 parents of children under two years of age in Vancouver and found that more than half of the parents in the study allow their children to use technology.

In fact, only 42 % of the parents did not allow their children any screen time. Meanwhile 40.5 % allowed their toddlers to use devices for up to half an hour per day and 17.5 % of the parents in this study gave their children devices for an hour or more per day. Sadly, this is not even surprising, because parents typically resort to using phones when their children are upset. Doctors have noticed that when children are getting shots. When they start crying because of the needles, parents just give them phones and show them videos instead of hugging them and talking to them. Parents typically say that they don’t have time to spend with toddlers, because of household chores and generally coping with a busy workday. However, others believe that technology is actually going to help toddlers to develop their speech.

Scientists are not surprised with these results, although they wish parents followed these guidelines. Toddlers should be moving more and when you give them a screen they just stop and watch it without any physical activity. Reda Wilkes, study’s co-author, said: “we need to help parents appreciate that screen time can not only have negative effects on children’s language development, but it also interferes with children getting adequate amounts of sleep, even if the screens are not part of the bedtime routine”.

Technology steals children’s imagination, makes them lazy and lethargic. Your phone is not a nanny, your child needs you. There is no reason to introduce technology to children under 2 – it is a guideline everyone should follow.


Source: UBC

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