Screens are not Toys

By Makyla McCall

Have you ever witnessed a young child who is perfectly content grocery shopping with their mom?  Chances are that if they are not complaining or asking for candy, they are glued to some screen whether it is a phone or ipad.

Almost every parent I asked about screen time were stressed about how many hours their children were on their tablet, smartphone, or even tv.

Research shows that screen addiction is damaging the brains of children under the age of six years old.  

The U.S. Department of Health says “On the average, American children six and under spend seven hours a day in front of electronic media.   Children who get hooked on tablets and smartphones are slower learners. It is harder for them to concentrate, to lend attention, and hard to build a large vocabulary. In order for the brain’s neural networks to develop normally, a child needs specific stimuli from the outside environment. When a young child spends too much time in front of a screen and not enough getting required stimuli from the real world, his/her development becomes stunted.”

I went around asking fellow students who have younger siblings as well as parents about what they thought about the above research.

Freshman Lexingtin Schroeder said “My sister is always on a phone we have at home. She gets on social networks all day. She loves snapchat’s filters.  The research is scary.”

Freshman Jessica Kennedy also has a younger sister.

“My sister gets on youtube to keep calm and watches kids play with toys. It seems pretty harmless.”

Sophomore D’Aijzae Griffin said,  “My God brother knows how to work netflix and he watches the same stuff over and over again. He even takes his ipad outside.  WIthout his ipad, he cries.  I know he is addicted.”

Teacher, Gina Escurel, is the proud mama of two twin boys who already is careful about screens.

“They love Mickey Mouse and it keeps them calm.  As they get older, I will limit screen time even more,” she explained.

The bottom line is this.  Screens are NOT toys! I think one hour per day is all children under the age of six need to have.  For infants 18 months or younger, no screen time at all is needed. No screen time for babies is important because brain development is very crucial at this age. Screens should not be the babysitters.  Read them a book and talk to them!

Don’t forget that facetiming is screen time as well.

The American Academy of Pediatrics explains “Families think facetime doesn’t count when facetiming little babies, but it does.”

Teens and screen time is a whole other issue and whole different article.