Saturday November 25, 2017

Toddlers Using Gadgets May Appear Cool but Involves Health Risk

Ever since iPad appeared in 2010, it has changed the childhood play habits

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Toddler using gadgets
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

 

Next Story

Is Longer Screen Time Bad for your Child’s Health? Experts say it might be time to relax the rules

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology, said in a report that kids ages 8 and younger average about 2 hours and 19 minutes with screens every day at home.

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New York, October 22, 2017 : Parents of small children have long been hearing about the perils of “screen time.” And with more screens, and new technologies such as Amazon’s Echo speaker, the message is getting louder.

And while plenty of parents are feeling guilty about it, some experts say it might be time to relax a little.

Go ahead and hand your kid a gadget now and then to cook dinner or get some work done. Not all kids can entertain themselves quietly, especially when they are young. Try that, and see how long it takes your toddler to start fishing a banana peel out of the overflowing trash can.

“I know I should limit my kid’s screen time a lot, but there is reality,” said Dorothy Jean Chang, who works for a tech company in New York and has a 2-year-old son. When she needs to work or finds her son awake too early, “it’s the best, easiest way to keep him occupied and quiet.”

Screen time, she says, “definitely happens more often than I like to admit.”

She’s not alone. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology, said in a report Thursday that kids ages 8 and younger average about 2 hours and 19 minutes with screens every day at home. That’s about the same as in 2011, though it’s up from an hour and a half in 2013, the last time the survey was conducted, when smartphones were not yet ubiquitous but TV watching was on the decline.

While the overall numbers have held steady in recent years, kids are shifting to mobile devices and other new technologies, just as their parents are. The survey found that kids spend an average of 48 minutes a day on mobile devices, up from 15 minutes in 2013. Kids are also getting exposed to voice-activated assistants, virtual reality and internet-connected toys, for which few guidelines exist because they are so new.

SCREEN TIME
Students play with their iPads at the Steve Jobs school, Aug. 21, 2013. The Steve Jobs schools in the Netherlands are founded by the Education For A New Time organization, which provides the children with iPads to help them learn with a more interactive experience. VOA

Mixed message

Some parents and experts worry that screens are taking time away from exercise and learning. But studies are inconclusive.

The economist Emily Oster said studies have found that kids who watch a lot of TV tend to be poorer, belong to minority groups and have parents with less education, all factors that contribute to higher levels of obesity and lower test scores. For that reason, it’s “difficult to draw strong conclusions about the effects of television from this research,” Oster wrote in 2015.

In fact, the Common Sense survey found that kids whose parents have higher incomes and education spend “substantially less time” with screens than other children. The gap was larger in 2017 than in previous years.

Rules relaxed

For more than a quarter century, the American Academy of Pediatrics held that kids under 2 should not be exposed to screens at all, and older kids should have strict limits. The rules have relaxed, such that video calls with grandma are OK, though “entertainment” television still isn’t. Even so, guidelines still feel out of touch for many parents who use screens of various sizes to preserve their sanity and get things done.

ALSO READ Few Tips For Parenting Boys, Which Will Make Them Kind And Gentle

Jen Bjorem, a pediatric speech pathologist in Leawood, Kansas, said that while it’s “quite unrealistic” for many families to totally do away with screen time, balance is key.

“Screen time can be a relief for many parents during times of high stress or just needing a break,” she said.

Moderation

Bjorem recommends using “visual schedules” that toddlers can understand to set limits. Instead of words, these schedules have images — dinner, bed time, reading or TV time, for example.

Another idea for toddlers? “Sensory bins,” or plastic tubs filled with beads, dry pasta and other stuff kids can play around with and, ideally, be just as absorbed as in mobile app or an episode of “Elmo.”

Of course, some kids will play with these carefully crafted, Pinterest-worthy bins for only a few minutes. Then they might start throwing beans and pasta all over your living room. So you clean up, put away the bins and turn on the TV.

In an interview, Oster said that while screen time “is probably not as good for your kid as high-quality engagement” with parents, such engagement is probably not something we can give our kids all the time anyway.

“Sometimes you just need them to watch a little bit of TV because you have to do something, or you need (it) to be a better parent,” Oster said. (VOA)