It’s no longer the days of old where kids run free outdoors during their playtime. Instead they stay cramped up inside with the reflecting lights of electronics misting over their eyes. That’s not to say that all iPad, iPhone and TV time is damaging to kids since the content can be educational. There are now many learning games and activities that aid children’s development. However, did you know that children spend on average seven hours of screen time a day? Kids at the ripe age of two are even hooked to iPad games.
Unfortunately, there are long-term repercussions to this extended screen time that parents need to be wary of. Limiting their screen time or investing in eyewear (because we already know that looking at a screen for hours on hours every day will speed up children’s need for glasses) that block the screen’s harmful blue rays, otherwise known as light-responsive blue stoppers, can help prevent children’s eyes from straining.
Prolonged screen time can stunt children’s growth. Between the critical development years of one and three years old, children’s brains have heightened brain sensitivity to their surrounding environment. To ensure their proper brain development, they need to get exposure to outdoor stimuli. This feat is something that goes as far back as human evolution. If they fail to get this stimuli during these three pertinent developmental years, then they risk permanent damage.
The reason for this is that tablet screens spoon-feed children images, words and videos all at once. They no longer have to do the thinking as the device is doing it for them, thus weakening their brain muscles. Take the classic bedtime story-time as an example. When kids read their tablet before bed, not only will they endure a disrupted sleep cycle but they are failing to grasp all stimuli at a slower pace. They don’t have the luxury of comprehending the sound of their mother’s voice reading the book, of feeling the photos beneath their fingertips and following along with the words on the pages.
Tablets teaches kids early on that everything can be instantly gratified. This as a result can stimulate laziness and disrupt their concentration and attention spans. So if you’re going to expose your kids to the inevitable tablet during their early years, please do it gradually and with limitations.