The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that the time devoted to various mass media by teenagers and children is only bettered by sleeping in America. The findings are not anything to be proud of, though. This article shares the potentially harmful effects of prolonged screen media exposure to children below two years.
Recent scientific evidence points towards increased risk of obesity in preschoolers who spend most of their time on screen media. The ripple effects of childhood obesity such as increased risks of certain cancers, diabetes, joints and bones problems, cardiovascular diseases and stigmatization should persuade caregivers to discourage screen media exposure to children below two years as recommended by AAP.
To tackle these undesirable effects of electronic media on a child’s development, the AAP has put up recommendations. Some of which include the use of alternative learning experiences such as reading to the children and getting involved in active interactive games that foster cognitive skills. Parents should not use electronic media as an alternative to babysitting. If things get complicated, it’s best to get some help from experienced preschool caregivers.
Active learning is strongly encouraged for children under two years as opposed to passive learning (e-learning). A Boston University Medical Center (2015) publication, debunks the popular belief that children can learn a thing from screen media. The AAP buttresses these findings and further reports that electronic media may contribute to a delay in language development.
Inappropriate Screen Media Content
What infants and teenagers are exposed to in screen media have a bearing on their behavior. Aggressive behavior and acceptance of violence as a norm has been associated with early childhood exposure to screen media violence. Advertisement glorifying alcohol and tobacco use as reported by AAP (2010) may influence the uptake of drinking and smoking among children and teenagers.
Contrary to the popular belief that screen media improves your child’s cognitive development, research has demonstrated that it not only delays learning outcomes but also is a risk factor for undesirable social and health outcomes. Caregivers and parents are thus encouraged to provide alternative beneficial activities other than screen media.