As useful as devices (like cell phones, internet, iPads, and TV) are for adults, young children need screen free zones.
Ideally, with “screen free zones:”
- Children from birth to age 2 years have zero exposure to screens.
- The TV is not on when young children are in the room.
- Other devices are turned off when young children are around.
- Children ages 2 through 3 have less than 1 hour of screen time per day.
It may seem extreme, but here’s why young children really need screen free zones:
- Rapid brain growth
- From birth to 2 years, an infant’s brain triples in size. Children’s brains grow and develop until at least 21 years of age.
- The environment makes a big difference in brain development. Too much stimulation, or not enough of the right kinds of stimulation, can hurt a child’s brain. Screen time (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV, and more) causes over-stimulation.
- Children learn through play and interaction with other people, especially caring adults. Screen time takes away time from both of these.
- Delayed development
- When children move around, they have better attention and ability to learn. When children are looking at screens, they aren’t moving around much. This can delay a child’s development.
- Sleep deprivation
- Screen time at bedtime can make it hard for children to fall asleep and can lead to sleep deprivation. You’ll do them a huge favor if you do not allow TVs or other screens in their bedrooms.
- Behavioral health issues
- Too much screen time can lead to many concerns: child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, tantrums, and other issues. Also, children who watch violent media are more likely to become aggressive or have aggressive behaviors.