Screen time, or digital media, refers to the use of smart phones, tablets, computers, and TVs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established screen time recommendations for children. Parents and caregivers should co-view digital media with babies and toddlers to help them understand what they are seeing and apply what they are learning to the world around them.
Screen time can negatively affect both your child’s development and physical health. Babies and toddlers need hands-on exploration and social interaction with trusted caregivers to develop their cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional skills. These skills cannot be learned through digital media.
A link has also been found between screen time use and language delay. An expressive speech delay can influence a child’s ability to conceptualize words or define their emotions, leaving them frustrated and more likely to act out. Additionally, the use of screens early on can lead to attention difficulties.
Finally, screen time can impact physical health and sleep. Screen time is often accompanied by mindless eating and often displaces time spent doing physical activity, which has been linked to obesity later in life. An increased duration of media exposure and a presence of digital media in the bedroom are associated with fewer minutes of sleep per night.