A “Screen-Time” Guide To Reducing The Influence Of Gadgets On Early Childhood

Avoid using screen time for children under 2 years of age and limit the use of screen time to no more than 2 hours a day for children over 2 years of age. Use this time to read, play, and explore outside the home, so that children's growth and development remains optimal.

The technology that continues to develop causes the media as part of its development to also develop. The use of media in children has changed from ancient times and now. In 1970, children began watching television regularly at the age of 4. It is different from today's generation, the children of the present generation are digital native generations, that is, those who have been familiar with electronic and digital media since birth.  

Babies aged 4 months have started to be exposed to television in their homes. The same is the case with the use of gadgets, including cellphones. In 2011, research shows 52% of children aged 0-8 years already have access to gadgets and this figure increased in 2013 by 23% .


The effects of gadgets and media (cellphones / television) on early childhood development include:

  1. Increasing the possibility of children being exposed to adult / violent content, which will affect their behavior.
  2. Reduced interaction between parents and children because the child's time focuses a lot on the media he uses.
  3. The behavior of children who are often exposed to gadgets will be more aggressive, temperamental and have problems controlling their emotions.
  4. Increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular risk, depression, and sleep disorders in children.
  5. The use of gadgets while studying can cause learning delays in childrenScreen time is the time spent using a computer, watching television, or playing video games. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using media for children less than 2 years old because the child is experience development in the areas of their cognitive, language, sensory-motor, and social-emotional abilities. At this age, children need direct practice and interaction from their parents so that their development is optimal.

Various experts also recommend a screen time of no more than 2 hours per day for children older than 2 years. The more time a child spends in cyberspace, the greater the chance of being exposed to age-inappropriate material or experiencing mistreatment by irresponsible individuals. Teens, like adults, can quickly become addicted to the Internet. This is unhealthy, and time spent alone looking at a computer screen is better spent hanging out with peers or engaging in physical activities.


AAP recommends several things related to "screen time" in children, including: 

  1. Children aged less than 18 months are not recommended to be exposed to gadgets and media except video chatting.
  2. Parents who have children aged 18-24 months and want to introduce media to their children, are advised to choose programs / applications that are of good quality as well as assistance for children in using them.
  3. Parents should not allow children less than 2 years to watch television but it is better to encourage children to do activities or activities that are more interactive which will stimulate brain development such as talking, playing, . Singing, and reading together.
  4.  For children over 2 years old, limit the time they watch TV and video games, to a maximum of 2 HOURS / day
  5. Avoid using gadgets at mealtime, while doing homework and one hour before bed.
  6. Choose TV programs that are educational, informative and non-violent. Accompany children when watching television and provide education about what they are watching.
  7. Turn off the TV / other media when not in use
  8. Avoid using media / gadgets to calm crying or fussy children as this will affect the development of their emotional control.
  9. Set time without media / gadgets (for example at dinner with family) and certain locations free of electronic media (for example in the bedroom).
  10. Do not put the TV in the room so as not to interfere with the child's sleeping habits.
  11. Arrange time for physical activity and exercise with the family on a regular basis.
  12. Get used to small to do other activities, such as reading, sports, hobbies, and other creative games.


Be Parents Model (AAP, 2001): 

  • Give an example to your little one by reducing your screen time
  • Organize your time for physical activity and sports with your family
  • Make gradual changes for children by increasing physical activity, watching less TV and games


Source:

AAP Council on Communications and Media. Media used in school-aged children and adolescents. Pediatrics.2016;138(5): e20162592.


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