This is perhaps the most debated question among doctors and parents today.

It is alarming to see that many mothers feed their young kid as old as 6 months with either a mobile phone with some program; most mothers say they are playing educational nursery rhymes, or a program as chota bheem or a game in IPad.

While the child is focusing on these devices food is shoved in the child; s mouth. Parents are relieved the child is fed.

The parents helplessly tell me that their child will throw temper tantrums if there is no screen in front of him or her when feeding. Further s/he will go hungry the whole day if this method is not adopted. Many of these children land up with eating disorder, and obesity later in life.

Many parents think their child is very smart, that s/he can go the program they want on the IPad and can play with it for hours, and they can do their work in peace. Alas; how many of these parents have missed the signs of childhood autism a condition with poor social and communication disorder.   Read on

Let us see what are the dos’ and don’ts to screen time, how much and when and what to watch.

The first two years are period for rapid development of the brain. Foundation for language, emotional, cognitive, and motor skills are laid during this period. The brain requires environmental stimuli with interaction with family, play materials and spaces to move for it to develop.

Exposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has shown to negatively affect executive functioning, and cause attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity, and decreased ability to self-regulation resulting in a child with attention deficit and poor learning skills

Poor self regulation also results in anger and temper tantrums and behavioural problems as bullies in school

Technology overuse is also  implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and problematic child behaviour (Bristol University 2010,).

Too much exposure to violence in media desensitizes the child. Young children increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in media results in increasing incidence of sexual assaults, rage and aggression in the society.

Recommendation for screen time

Children below 2 years

No screen time

Preschoolers

One hour a day

School children

2 to 3 hours a day

  • Do not feed children in front of the Television, Child should participate and eat with interest to develop good eating habits.
  • Encourage children to go out and play with other children, If they are at home you play with them
  • Make reading a habit, it will pay good dividend in learning and enjoying learning.
  • Sing and dance, indulge in creative hobbies to keep the mind active.