Study on Screen Time Shakes Up Preconceived Notions
While experts appear to disagree on two new studies on children and screen time, moderation is key.
Two separate studies published in January by respected organizations reached somewhat conflicting findings on the amount of time deemed fit for children to spend looking at the screens of a television, tablet or phone. Guidance from leading pediatricians said in evidence published in the BMJ Open medical journal that there is little evidence screen use for children is harmful in itself. But researchers found that screen time should be minimized in the hour before bedtime.
The research focused mostly on television viewing time, and was aimed at whether parents should set limits children spend in front of a screen. At the end of January, a report by the journal JAMA Pediatrics, was more critical and said that among toddlers, spending excessive amounts of time staring at screens is linked with poorer performance on developmental screening tests later in childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limits on screen use for preschool children ages 2 to 5 to just one hour a day of high-quality programming. While the experts may not agree, it would appear that moderation is the key, and that screen time should not replace other activities such as exercise and family time.
At the IPC, the involvement of the family is greatly encouraged and seen as a key component to the development of a child. It is also important to note that the development and the education of a child often reach beyond the traditional parent/ child relationship. Grandparents, older siblings, relatives and prominent members of the community also play important roles. The IPC also encourages the participation of all those involved in the education of children outside of school children. A simple, yet enjoyable task, such as counting the number of red cars on the commute to or from school, will allow a child to work on a number of areas, including number sense, visual discrimination and counting. With research showing that almost half of all learning taking place at home, the role of the family can never be underestimated.