The Grapevine

More Toddlers Are Exposed To Gadget Screens Excessively

Children’s screen time exposure cannot exceed more than an hour a day, this is according to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). The rule was devised to safeguard toddlers against poor brain development and slow cognitive skills because many studies have warned. However, limited usage of technology has its benefits since it can improve coordination and hone language skills. 

Researchers at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, analyzed the screen-usage time of children ages two and three. The results were published Wednesday in JAMA Pediatrics. Out of the 1,595 children aged two years old, 79.4 percent were violating the rules set out by pediatric organizations and WHO on how much time children can spend on digital media. 

Similarly, 1,994 children aged three years old were analyzed and 94.7 percent were not following the guidelines, as per study. The data was taken with consent from 3,200 mother-baby pairs part of the longitudinal study titled ‘‘All Our Families’’ that was based in Canada, which investigated the influence parental behavior have on young children. 

From the answers to the questionnaires that were given as part of the study, the researchers were able to deduce factors that increased electronic media usage. The mothers' habits related to watching TV, using mobiles phones, tablets and laptops played a significant role in the amount of time children used gadgets.

Also, children that are brought up in the daycare system are less prone to whiling away their time using technology. Even on three years olds, the mothers' screen time had a negative impact on the child’s media consumption, the news release revealed. These habits are harshly looked down upon. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  advises parents against allowing their children to dabble with technology till they turn 18 months old and start slow exposure up to 24 months. After which, children aged two to five can increase their digital media exposure to an hour a day.

The researchers gave several recommendations for parents to implement. “In high screen-viewing families, it may be difficult for parents to implement screen time guidelines without a supportive approach. Accordingly, it will be important to work together with families to devise family media plans that can be effectively implemented.” 

“This includes promoting opportunities for joint media engagement; deciding when, where, and how often screens are used; and reinforcing the need for sleep, physical activity, and device-free interactions to be prioritized to optimize child development,” they added. 

Gadgets and Kids Studies suggest that kids with prolonged gadget use leads to ADHD. StockSnap/Pixabay

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