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Technology Should Not Hamper The Child’s Normal Social Interaction And Environmental Learning

Media diets should be rich in educational content and should be based on the science of learning approaches in creating content that triggers the intuitive senses in kids at that tender age.

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Instead of playing with toys or being part of an outdoor activity, over-exposing them to screens so early in life could hinder their holistic development, damage their eyesight and cause childhood obesity which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Pixabay

If you are one of those parents who hand over a smartphone or a tablet to your toddlers while feeding them or to keep them entertained, beware this habit can not only make them sedentary but also push them into severe digital addiction in their formative years.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), only 15-20 minutes of screen exposure is healthy and acceptable for babies under 18 months of age.

However, busy schedules and an over-protective approach towards the physical safety of toddlers have increasingly convinced parents, especially in the metros, to hook their children onto smart screens, say the experts.

Instead of playing with toys or being part of an outdoor activity, over-exposing them to screens so early in life could hinder their holistic development, damage their eyesight and cause childhood obesity which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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For digital detox, experts say parents should create and maintain device-free zones at home, especially at dining tables and in bedrooms for kids as well as for themselves. Pixabay

“Toys generate more visual and tactile information to the toddler’s brain. Screen interactions are just too fast for a toddler of less than two years of age to comprehend any information and learn anything out of it,” Soumiya Mudgal, Psychiatrist, Max Healthcare, Gurugram, told IANS.

The increased screen time can also push toddlers to laziness and permanently damage their cognitive abilities such as solving problems, paying attention to other people and falling asleep on time.

Health experts suggest that the “ideal” age for children to be exposed to moderate screen involvement is 11 years. But, a recent survey by UK-based online trade-in outlet musicMagpie found that 25 per cent of children aged six and under already have their own mobile phones and nearly half of them spend up to 21 hours per week on their devices – playing games on screen and watching videos.

Since screen exposure is inescapable for toddlers, parents are being advised by experts to engage their children in “open-ended” content on screens. This would help them to be creative in interacting with the app, which could contribute as cognitive development than mere reward or distraction.

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The increased screen time can also push toddlers to laziness and permanently damage their cognitive abilities such as solving problems, paying attention to other people and falling asleep on time. Pixabay

However, screen exposure for a short period under supervision cannot be harmful.

“Under supervision, 15-20 minutes of letting toddlers interact with screens while eating, bathing or getting a haircut could be allowed as a reward for the child because there is no evidence of it causing addiction in that little duration,” Mudgal said.

Media diets should be rich in educational content and should be based on the science of learning approaches in creating content that triggers the intuitive senses in kids at that tender age.

“Technology should not hamper the child’s normal social interaction and environmental learning,” Mudgal noted.

Once children become habitual to interacting with smart displays, trying to cut down their screen engagement time later could result in problematic withdrawal symptoms like irritable behaviour, disobedience, repetitive demanding and tantrums in sleeping, eating or even staying awake.

Also Read: The Growing Economic Disparity Between The ‘Elite’ and The Masses

For digital detox, experts say parents should create and maintain device-free zones at home, especially at dining tables and in bedrooms for kids as well as for themselves.

“Children pick up from what they see. Parents have to set an example of practising healthy screen time habits themselves and they must cautiously beware of the impact that their own screen habits could have on their toddlers,” Mudgal said. (IANS)

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71% Parents Feel That Video Games May Have Positive Impact on Kids

71% parents believe video games good for teens

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86 per cent of parents agree that teeagers spend too much time on video games. Pixabay

Seventy-one per cent of parents believe that video games may have a positive and healthy impact on their kids’ lifestyle, while 44 per cent try to restrict video game content, says a new study.

According to the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health in US, 86 per cent of parents agree that teeagersspend too much time gaming. Parents also reported very different gaming patterns for teenage boys than girls.

Twice as many parents said that their teen boy plays video games every day compared to parents of teen girls. Teen boys are also more likely to spend three or more hours gaming.

“Although many parents believe video games can be good for teens, they also report a number of negative impacts of prolonged gaming,” said poll co-director Gary Freed from University of Michigan.

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Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games. Pixabay

“Parents should take a close look at their teen’s gaming behaviour and set reasonable limits to reduce harmful impacts on sleep, family and peer relationships and school performance,” Freed added.

Overall, parents surveyed said that gaming often gets in the way of other aspects of their teen’s life, such as family activities and interactions (46 per cent), sleep (44 per cent), homework (34 per cent), friendship with non-gaming peers (33 per cent) and extracurricular activities (31 per cent).

Parents of teens ages 13-15 (compared to those with older teens) are more likely to use rating systems to try to make sure games are appropriate (43 per cent versus 18 per cent), encourage their teen to play with friends in person rather than online and to ban gaming in their teen’s bedroom.

Parents polled also use different strategies to limit the amount of time their teen spends gaming, including encouraging other activities (75 per cent), setting time limits (54 per cent), providing incentives to limit gaming (23 per cent) and hiding gaming equipment (14 percent).

The researchers noted that while gaming may be a fun activity in moderation, some teens -such as those with attention issues — are especially susceptible to the constant positive feedback and the stimulus of video games.

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This may lead to prolonged play that is disruptive to other elements of a teen’s life, the researchers added.

“Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games,” Freed said. (IANS)