Our world wouldn’t be the same without technology, however; nowadays children are introduced to phones and tablets at a very early age. Parents of children of all ages face the challenge of limiting and managing screen time for their children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of two. Research showed that children learn best from interacting with real people and manipulating real life 3D objects because they are unable to transfer what they see on a screen to real life. In addition, screen time limits social interactions with family and peers which in turn affects the growth of the children’s social skills and their ability to discover their interests and capabilities.
The Zero to Three center provides useful research and information on how to make the best out of screen time by turning it into a learning opportunity. They recommend that parents make educated decisions on how their children are spending their screen time. Here are some recommendations:
• Join your children in their screen time and make it a language-rich time. Talk about what they are watching, what the characters are doing, and connect the events to reality.
• Eliminate background noise by turning off TV when no one is watching. Background noise is associated with poorer parent-child interaction, impacts child’s play, and is not comprehensible to young children.
• Limit screen time, screen time depends on the child’s age and the quality of the show/app the child is watching, and whether the child is accompanied by a parent or not.
• Look for curriculum based TV shows that are directed to children and have real people that the child can connect to.
• Look for interactive apps that involve the child in the learning process, but make sure they are not too busy. For example, if you are reading an e-story make sure the app is focusing on the story line and not distracting the child from it.
• Avoid screen time before bedtime.
• Limit your screen time while you are playing with your children to increase parent-child interaction and avoid any distractions.
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