As a parent, it’s hard to keep your child entertained all the time. For the sake of your sanity, you sometimes may need to distract your child with an engaging toy and take some time for yourself. Television, mobile devices, and other types of technology can seem like an excellent way to occupy your little ones.
However, as you get immersed in your other duties, it is not uncommon to notice that hours have gone by and your child has been staring at a screen the whole time. Although not new, “screen time” is the label that is used to describe when kids are focused on nothing more than a screen.
While having some time on the computer, iPad, and television isn’t the worst things in the world, it is always better to encourage your child to play using their imagination instead. Recent research has indicated that less screen time is always favorable for growing minds and bodies.
Below, we’ve outlined four compelling reasons why you should reduce your child’s screen time.
#1 Screen time is a risk factor for childhood obesity
Research shows that the amount of time that a child spends using technology is in direct relation to their risk for childhood obesity. For children as early as toddlers, being in front of a screen is linked to an increase in BMI, due, in part, to a lack of activity and exposure to junk food advertising.
#2 Screen time negatively affects a child’s much-needed sleep
Screen time is linked to irregular sleep patterns and interrupted sleep in children. Keeping electronics in your kids’ bedrooms or allowing them to play on a phone or tablet before bed can severely disrupt their ability to wind down and get some sleep.
#3 Screen time can impede developmental learning milestones, especially in young children
When children are exposed to too much screen time early on, it may cause delayed language acquisition. The more time preschool-aged children spend watching television or playing with technology, the less time they are engaged with you. Lack of interaction may cause them to miss out on some critical social skill and academic development. Studies indicate that the lasting effects of screen time in the early years is associated with lower math scores and lower school achievement.
#4 Marketers are overestimating the advantage of technology and games
Many of the “educational” products on the market show no evidence of helping your child learn. Educational videos for toddlers, which are advertised as being good for brain development, do not have the statistics to substantiate their claims. Things like interactive books or “e-books” have also been linked to lower levels of storybook understanding.
Try to limit their screen time as much as possible for healthy and happy kids now and in the future. Instead of letting them bury their heads in a device, check out the many products Step2 has to develop your child’s imagination and creativity so that you can find some time for you without guilt.