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Toddler using gadgets. Pixabay
  • Around 30 percent of newborn children less than six years are routinely exposed to some type of screen time
  • Just 20 percent of the parents surveyed knew about expert rules with respect to screen time in kids
  • The problems seen in the gathering of pre-schoolers are language and social delays

June 30, 2017: Toddlers using gadgets might appear cool to some but little do parents realise that spending time on screen might affect the health of their child. Indeed, even before he could walk or talk, two-year-old Jack (not his genuine name) could explore touch screen gadgets. What started as 30 minutes of everyday screen time from the age of six months has now crawled up to six hours day by day until his second birthday celebration. Jack’s childhood is not the usual one. Ever since IPad appeared in 2010, it has changed the childhood play habits.

Another investigation found that around 30 percent of newborn children less than six years are routinely presented to some type of screen time, (for example, the TV, cell phone or tablet) the normal being an hour for each day, said Dr Aishworiya Ramkumar, associate consultant at National University Hospital’s (NUH) Child Development Unit. By the age of two, just about nine in 10 youngsters would have had consistent screen time. Of more noteworthy concern was poor parental mindfulness. Just 20 percent of the parents surveyed knew about expert rules with respect to screen time in kids, and 60 percent directed their youngsters’ screen-time use consistently, said Dr Aishworiya.


By the age of two, just about nine in 10 youngsters would have had consistent screen time. Of more noteworthy concern was poor parental mindfulness. Just 20 percent of the parents surveyed knew about the guidelines with respect to screen time allowed for kids, and 60 percent directed their youngsters’ screen-time use consistently, said Dr Aishworiya.

While there are no formal statistics to track the phenomenon here, specialists disclosed to TODAY they are observing the first wave of negative impacts in a few youngsters who have had excessively screen time.

The issues seen in this gathering of pre-schoolers are language and social delays. Jack was a current patient of Dr Jennifer Kiing, senior consultant at the NUH’s Child Development Unit.

“By the time I saw the child, he was getting up to six hours of screen time a day. He had no meaningful words, had poor eye contact, did not respond consistently to his name and had short attention span,” said Dr Kiing.

Chief executive officer and principal of schools of Julia Gabriel Education, Ms Fiona Walker, said today’s pre-nursery children appear less comfortable expressing themselves.

“Our teachers have informal chats with the children before they are enrolled to gauge their conversational skills. Over the last two years, we’ve found that the pre-nursery children across all centres are less chatty than those from the previous cohorts. It is likely that this generation of young children would have been regularly exposed to mobile screen time in their early years,” said Ms Walker.

ALSO READ: The Blue Light malady from tech gadgets

Screentime Guidelines:

– Babies more than year and a half should avoid use of screen time other than video calling with relatives

– Toddlers matured 18 to 24 months must choose high-quality programming. Parents should supervise their kids to make them understand what they see during screentime

– Preschoolers matured two to five years should have a limited screen use to 1 hour for each day. Parents should co-see with kids.

– Children matured six and older. Place limitations on time spent using media, the types of media and guarantee it doesn’t replace rest, physical activity and well-being.

Signs to Spot:

– has an emergency each time you take the gadget away

– searches for each chance to play or watch an electronic gadget

– argues and hopes for additional time on the gadget when advised to stop

– school review/execution break down

– turns out to be more absent-minded than usual

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94


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