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Children are spending too much time on devices, but parents don’t care

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Posted July 26, 2019

Computers are all around us. They are unavoidable and they are actually nice to have. However, children’s’ screen time need to be limited in order for them to experience the real world. Scientists are reminding young parents to read the guidelines, in order to understand what is the appropriate screen time for their children. Researchers at the University of Queensland found that toddlers are using computers way too much.

Kids these days are using technology way too much. Image credit: Galeria del Ministerio de Defensa del Perú via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Australian national guidelines, based on numerous scientific studies, call for zero screen time in children under the age of two. However, many parents consider tablets, smartphones and laptops to be babysitters of sorts. In fact, researchers conducted a study and found that children under the age of 2, who are supposed to get no screen time at all, use devices for an average of 50 minutes per day. Parents who do not follow the guidelines, were reminded about them, but most had some excuses.

Usually those parents, who experience financial stress, are very inactive or just enjoy the serenity associated with children using computers, allowed their children to have more screen time. You think 2 year olds can already use devices? Well, the problem is much deeper than that. Researchers found that children are spending almost an hour per day in front of a screen before they turn one and with time these numbers are only increasing. 3yos are devoting an average of 94 minutes per weekday for devices. The use of devices only decreases when the child is going to a kindergarten. This shows that as long as they have something more exciting to do, children do not gravitate towards devices.

But maybe it is not so bad that children are spending time on electronics? What the biggest negatives could be?

World Health Organization and other international bodies promote the zero screen time under two years. And there are reasons for that. Professor Leigh Tooth, lead author of the study, said: “We need to let people know that young children should not be in front of a screen for long periods because there is emerging evidence this could be detrimental to their development and growth. Screen time represents a missed opportunity where children could be practising and mastering a developmental skill, like skipping and jumping, over being sedentary and transfixed to a screen”.

Finally, parents have to understand two main things. First, their children are not going to be little for long. They have to appreciate those moments and create some memories. At the same time they need to stimulate children and make sure they grow up curious and ready to learn. Secondly, parents lead by example. If you put down your phone and invite your kid to play, both of you will be happer.

 

Source: University of Queensland

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