The Risk of Children's Screen Time
In addition to the issue of parental distraction, smartphones and technology have also become an issue for children. More frequently, children are exposed to screens in school, daycare settings, and at home. The Atlantic reports that children are exposed to more screen time than previous generations, with preschoolers averaging more than 4 hours per day and screen time beginning earlier, at only 4 months old.
Rather than playing outside or at home, children occupy themselves by watching television or videos online and playing games. The Atlantic reports, “To argue that parents’ use of screens is an underappreciated problem isn’t to discount the direct risks screens pose to children: Substantial evidence suggests that many types of screen time (especially those involving fast-paced or violent imagery) are damaging to young brains,” however, they say that “Some of the newer interactive games kids play on phones or tablets may be more benign than watching TV (or YouTube), in that they better mimic children’s natural play behaviors.”
Christakis concludes, “Still, no one really disputes the tremendous opportunity costs to young children who are plugged in to a screen: Time spent on devices is time not spent actively exploring the world and relating to other human beings.”
It seems that for children to develop better cognitively and grow in social learning, a significant amount of time away from the screen is necessary.
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