The Impact of Screen Time on Child Development: Understanding the Risks and Setting Limits

The Impact of Screen Time on Child Development: Understanding the Risks and Setting Limits

In today's digital age, screens are an integral part of our daily lives. From smartphones to tablets, television to computers, screens surround us, offering endless entertainment and information. However, the increasing prevalence of screen time, particularly among children, has raised concerns about its impact on their development and behavior.

While screens offer many benefits, excessive screen time can have detrimental effects on child development and behavior. Numerous studies have highlighted its negative effects. Excessive screen time has been linked to delays in language acquisition, decreased attention span, poor academic performance, and disrupted sleep patterns. Additionally, prolonged screen exposure can contribute to sedentary behavior, leading to an increased risk of obesity and other health issues.

Authors such as Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, have emphasized on the detrimental effects of screen time on a child's mental health. In her research, Dr. Twenge has found a correlation between high levels of screen time and increased rates of depression and anxiety among adolescents.

In light of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided guidelines regarding screen time for children. According to the AAP, children under 18 months old should avoid all screen time, except for video chatting with family members. For children aged 18 to 24 months, limited and high-quality programming is recommended, with parental supervision. Toddlers aged 2 to 5 years old should have no more than one hour of screen time per day, focusing on educational content and co-viewing with caregivers.

Setting limits on screen time is crucial for promoting healthy development and behavior in children. Parents play a vital role in establishing and enforcing these boundaries. By prioritizing interactive activities, outdoor play, and face-to-face interactions, parents can help mitigate the negative effects of screen time on their children.

By wisely following  recommended guidelines and setting limits on screen time, parents can help ensure their children's well-being in today's digital world.

Written by Wathu Ntandika