The Pros and Cons of Screen Time for Young Kids
Screen time is a hot topic in today’s society and for good reason. Young kids are fascinated and parents aren’t sure what to think. Is it good, is it bad? Could it be both? We’ll dive into some of the positives and negatives associated with screen time below, as well as share the most recent recommendations for kids under five.
- There are tons of high-quality learning shows, games, and apps available for young children — Many of today’s screen time options for young children are educational. Apps and games teach reading, writing, basic math skills, and more. Television can teach social skills, provide creative and imaginative play ideas, introduce other languages and cultures from around the world, etc. By choosing high-quality screen time that exhibits clear learning opportunities, your child can benefit from watching moderate amounts.
- Appropriate levels of quality screen time have been proven to benefit social-emotional wellness — Oxford, Cardiff, and Cambridge Universities have all found that moderate screen time levels can lead to increased social-emotional skills. This could be related to the impact of social stories as kids watch their favorite characters overcome common childhood challenges.
- Screen time can support parents during busy or difficult days — Parents are busy, and when kids are taking in high-quality screen time, they may be able to cook healthy dinners, clean the house up, or catch up on a work call. This isn’t to say screen time can entertain children completely on its own, but it can be used as a supportive tool as parents take on quick tasks close by.
- It takes time away from imaginative, active play — The biggest downfall of screen time is that it prevents kids from taking part in other healthy, growth-centric activities. Kids are almost always better off spending time outside, using their imaginations, and simply playing at their own pace, so it’s important to make sure these actions are still being prioritized.
- It can be addictive — This is true for grownups, too. We are all drawn in by technology, so it’s important for us as parents to set healthy limits for our kids. Help young children spend no longer than 1-2 hours on screens and avoid their use in bedrooms and at the dinner table to help set healthy boundaries from the start.
- Too much can be damaging — When young kids watch too much TV, it can lead to obesity from too much sedentary time, sleep troubles, behavioral challenges, and more.
All in all, screen time has its benefits when used in moderation. It’s also important to set strong boundaries to ensure the negatives stay away. WHO recommends no screen time under 2, no more than 1 hour per day for 2-3-year-olds, and no more than 2 hours per day for 3-5-year-olds. They also state that less screen time is always the better option.
Do you do screen time in your home? Why or why not? What’s your favorite, high-quality show? We’d love to hear your thoughts!