A recent study conducted in Japan has found that increased screen time in babies and toddlers is associated with lower development. The research revealed that infants and young children who spent more time looking at screens experienced a decline in brain development and motor skills by the time they reached the ages of 2 and 3.
These findings are concerning and have been described as “really frightening” by Donna Dotson, a senior physical therapist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Dotson compared screen time to dessert, stating that while a small amount occasionally may be acceptable, excessive consumption can lead to problems.
In addition to lower brain development, the study discovered that increased screen time at age 2 was also linked to reduced motor skills and personal social skills at age 3. However, Dotson believes that the study may underestimate the full extent of the negative effects as it did not include handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.
There are various reasons behind the negative impact of screen time on development. Children who spend significant amounts of time looking at screens miss out on exploring their surroundings and interacting with others. This lack of engagement hampers their ability to develop essential skills.
Early childcare centers have observed firsthand the detrimental effects of excessive screen time. Samantha Ford, a representative from Green Garden Child Development Centers, highlighted a decline in communication and fine motor skills among children who spend excessive time watching screens.
To mitigate these effects, parents are encouraged to allocate more time for activities that do not involve screen time. Creating opportunities for children to engage in physical play and interactive social interactions can foster healthier development.
Overall, this study reinforces the importance of limiting screen time in babies and toddlers to ensure optimal development and well-being.
– Research study conducted in Japan with 60,000 children
– Interview with Donna Dotson, senior physical therapist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan
– Interview with Samantha Ford from Green Garden Child Development Centers