Many parents today favorite choice of distraction or behavioral redirection is a tablet, phone, or iPad. In some circumstances, it is acceptable to redirect a child’s attention to a screen. Suppose you’re in a doctors’ office with your child waiting to receive wellness shots; it is an acceptable opportunity to use a screen to calm and ease a very stressful situation for your child.
Using screens has its advantages and disadvantages.
Some cons of screen use include:
Using a screen does not build up the same muscles in hand needed for writing
Decreased coordination skills
Limited social interaction
Increases a child's risk for obesity
To help make screen time more meaningful for your child you can:
Incorporate a stylist when using a screen to promote FM coordination used in writing
Apps that are available to increase education such as Leap Frog
Quality apps/content can enhance language skills and social skills
When a parent is involved; connections can be made with real life scenarios to improve cognitive, attention and memory skills
It is not recommended for screens to be used for children under the age of two years old. Evidence shows that children under the age of five years old learn best from interactions with family members and caregivers. Limiting screen time is a key element for a balanced interaction between learning and free time. Limiting screen time during social gatherings is a good idea to improve a child’s social skills with older adults or children. Children need active play time to increase and develop language skills, their health and wellness as well as self-regulation when in different situations. As a family, limiting and or avoiding screen time to be more involved with children is beneficial for a child’s growth.
Canadian Paediatric Society, Digital Health Task Force, Ottawa, Ontario; Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world, Paediatrics & Child Health, Volume 22, Issue 8, 27 November 2017, Pages 461–468, https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/pxx123