TV, tablet, smartphone: Why children should be in front of the screen as little as possible


Modern technologies are an integral part of our lives, and this is also true for our children. When you need to focus on something, whether it's preparing lunch or taking care of personal matters, it can be really helpful to play a story or a song on YouTube for your little one. But how much screen time should children have to prevent it from becoming a habit?

How much screen time is too much?

According to the American Pediatric Association, children under the age of 18 months should not spend any time in front of the TV or with a tablet in hand. Children between the age of 18 and 24 months should only spend a very limited time in front of the screen and always accompanied by theiir parents, and from the age of 2 to 5 years, kids should spend only a maximum of 1 hour a day in front of the screen. Children at this age learn through human interaction, which no screen can replace, even if you are playing educational videos for children or even if they are playing educational games.

So if you let something go to the child, be with him and talk to him about what he sees, what is happening in the story. Also, choose such videos where the story follows one line and there are no rapid image changes.

Why screen time is bad for our kids

And what are the possible negative consequences of watching too much TV or videos on a tablet or a smartphone?

  • Slower development of the child: Since watching videos on TV or tablet is a passive activity, the child's brain does not receive enough stimuli during this activity. This has an effect not only on the degree of connectivity of his brain, but according to research, it also manifests itself in impaired concentration and the inability to manage the emotions in older children.
  • Poorer language skills: As previously stated, children learn most through real-world interaction. Although you can find a number of educational apps for children on the market, it is necessary to realize that their effectiveness is significantly lower if there is no interaction with the parent.
  • Sleep problems: A number of studies have shown that watching on screen (especially in the evening) has a negative impact on the quality of sleep. This applies not only to adults, but also to six-month-old babies, who need up to 15 hours of sleep a day for their proper development.

Healthy habits start with the parents

If you want your child to adopt healthy habits regarding watching TV or using a tablet as soon as possible, you need to start with yourself first. So what can be done to minimize the negative impact of screens?

  • If you are not watching the TV, switch it off. This applies even if the TV is only playing in the background. Television, even as a background, is a distracting element during playtime, not only for the child, but also for the parent, whose interaction with the child is lower.
  • Don't eat in front of the TV. Studies show that eating while watching TV leads to poor eating habits. Because of watching the screen, we don't focus so much on food. So we don't notice when we are full and we tend to overeat.
  • Do not hold the phone in your hand while playing with your child. Just like the running screen in the background, watching the phone is a distraction during playtime. Either play with your children and give them your full attention (even if it is just for 10 minutes) or leave your playtime until later.
  • Do not watch TV (or other screens) for at least an hour before going to bed. The quality of sleep together with sufficient exercise is important for human health. The blue light coming from the screens significantly disturbs yours and your child's sleep. So instead of watching something, how about reading a book before bedtime?

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Who writes articles for you

Interesting reading about education development of children is prepared for you (us) by Katka. Katka is currently on maternity leave with her 2-year-old daughter Emilka. Reflections on parenthood are her daily bread. Moreover, she enjoys writing immensely and finds it creatively fulfilling. When she has a moment away from her parenting duties, she likes to read a nice book (genre doesn't play a role) or unwind with a yoga session.