What We Do with Children and Screens? This Is What The Experts Say

It is Thursday night, is approaching the end of the week, everyone is tired, rain (or has done lot of heat) and children have not been able to go out, so they are already two hours playing with the tablet. In other words, it is the time of day when you feel every modern parent guilty.

Should I?… are they bad screens? What the experts say about their use in children?

“Sister-in-law” opinion is that the screens are usually bad and if we succumb to them and buy a few quiet hours giving the child the tablet or mobile it is because we are bad parents and bad mothers.

It is true that there are many studies that warn of the dangers of the screens:

  • A study published in 2008 says that children who start to watch TV before the age of 24 months are 6 times more likely to have development of language problems;
  • Another study confirmed that television delayed language acquisition: children under 17 months knew 6-7 words less for each hour that passed in front of the TV. However, this effect disappeared in children older than 17 months.
  • Perhaps the most important study was that noted the development of 259 children from 2005 to 2008. What the authors have been able to conclude is that the children who watched TV with 6 months, 14 were behind other children in cognitive development and language, regardless of whether the content they saw was education or not. In other words, those Baby Einstein DVD do not more intelligent to our children.
  • TV in the child’s room is associated with a greater risk of obesity, above all in families with low income.
  • A study published in 2002 stated that see more than two hours of TV a day increases 5 times the risk of smoking in children between 10 and 15 years.

Before you call to social services to deliver you for being bad parents, I would like that you fijarais in detail: all these studies deal with the impact of the television. Not of the tablet or mobile, TV. And I do not know in your houses, but in my TV just used. If anything as a screen for the Play. And although it may not seem it, it is a very important detail. So much so that he has made that the American Academy of Pediatrics is revising its earlier recommendation of limiting exposure to screens to two hours maximum.

“This recommendation was made in 1999, before the first generation of tablets and the explosion of apps aimed at children,” said the report written by a group of experts from the Academy led by ARI Brown. In other words, the pediatricians continue to think that hours and hours of television or video are not good for a child, especially if it is very small. But screens long ago that are no longer just TV or only videos. The more approaches the content consumed by a child to the real interaction between people, more beneficial is, because an app that simulates two-way communication is more natural for the child, understand it and can use it in their learning process.

To summarize: videos as Baby Einstein, that’s they do not offer two-way communication, they do not serve much; Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer trying to interact with the child, although in a poor way, work best; Finally, a call by Skype to talk to grandparents or an interactive app that simulates the communication with the child they are the best ways to take advantage of the screens.

It is undeniable that the children feel fascination for screens. The real risk is that the parents end up transforming them in the digital equivalent of a pacifier: They offer it so if you do need relax or calm down as if not, by default, as a preventive measure. The danger in this case is deprive him of other stimuli and experiences: shopping with a three-year-old child can be stressful, however for it is an experience, is learning how the world works, how things are done, communicates with parents Meanwhile, is making connections between facts and objects. Give you a mobile phone with an app so that it doesn’t bother us is to offer you a much poorer alternative.

The technology has not changed the reality of parenting. It is not so much know how to know act with common sense to handle it. From common sense, what we need is to be clear that our children need a balance between exercise and rest, physical and intellectual activity, stimulation and boredom, clear rules and spaces for freedom and autonomy.

All this is very abstract when we think with anxiety that we are very tired and the child takes an hour watching YouTube videos and this must be bad. For these cases, a checklist, based on the advice of ARI Brown and other experts:

  • If the tablet, the Play, the Nintendo, mobile or computer are not the only toy of your sons but one of many, nothing happens.
  • If your son goes to play the street nearly every day, you are doing well.
  • If you maintain conversations and do things together every day, even if they sometimes involve a screen, don’t worry.
  • If there are places in your House and times of day that the screens have no place, you are doing the right thing. (For example, the rule could be that it is not the tablet in bed and does not eat with her at the table).
  • If you release the content that your child eats is quality and suitable for their age, well done
  • If that makes the screen is more interactive and creative than passive, a digital native, you have nothing to fear.

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