According to Common Sense Media nearly half of all children 8 and under have their own tablet drive and spend an average of about 2.25 hours a day on digital screens.
But the famous question is , what does all this screen time do to these kids’ brains?
One study had indicated that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, and some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain's cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning. Dr. Jennifer F. Cross hypothesized that prolonged periods of screen time could inhibit certain aspects of a child's development by narrowing their focus of interest.
“If young children spend most of their time engaging with an Ipad, smartphone, or the television, all of which are highly entertaining, it can be hard to get them engaged in non-electronic activities, such as playing with toys to foster imagination and creativity, exploring outdoors, and playing with other children to develop appropriate social skills. Interacting almost exclusively with screens would be like working out only your arm muscles and nothing else. You would have really strong arm muscles, but at the expense of overall fitness.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using its tool to develop a healthy media plan that can be customized to a child or the entire family. The tool, accessible here, has time calculators to help regulate time spent on screens versus other activities important to health including sleep, exercise, and family engagement.
If you're worried your child is spending too much time on their screen try to set limitations. Have them limited to watching educational content with a parent. As they grow older it's hard to put an exact number on how much screen time is too much. However, research shows that there are many ways excessive screen time can damage your physical and mental health. Take care of the situation earlier on that way it doesn't get harder to control as they get older!