Every parent’s been told at one point or another that they need to be conscious of how much screen time we give our children. While many parents do try to limit how much screen time their children get, sometimes with the never ending laundry list of things of things to do, it’s simply easier to plop the young one in front of the boob tube and let Netflix babysit for a couple hours.
However, a new study titled Screen Dependency Disorders: A New Challenge for Child Neurology published in the Journal of the International Child Neurology Association, indicated that toddlers who spent an exceptional amount of time in front of a screen directly resulted in long-term effects on his or her dietary habits, weight, and behavior in their teenage years.
Watching T.V. and other screen time activities are extremely sedentary, both physically and mentally, this lack of activity may create issues with the connectivity in the rapidly developing toddler’s brain. Additionally, the study finds that exposing your child to these types of activities early on will have the potential to reinforce negative habits later on.
Physically speaking, this study has shown that excessive exposure to screens by toddlers and young school children can increase the potential for your child to develop a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist size as early as the first grade.
This isn’t the first-time children’s medical professionals have urged parents to cut down on the amount of time young children spend in front of a screen. The American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the nation’s leading experts in childhood development, made the recommendation that children under five-years old shouldn’t be exposed to more than one hour of screen time a day.
The irony of this is that while parents work hard to ensure that our children are exposed to as little screen time as possible, the role technology plays in our everyday lives means that, at some point, our children will likely spend much of their day in front of a screen, like a computer at work.
Until then, however, parents should continue to try and promote activities which promote long-term healthy benefits. This will probably mean that parents, too, will need to put their screens down and give their undivided attention to their children. Parents are, after all, their children’s first role models.