- Posted on Dec 6, 2016
Technology has exploded and no one is immune. Even toddlers are targets to intense marketing for new digital technologies. But is that a problem? The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement that I would like to summarize.
Children under age two need hands-on exploration and social interaction with their caretakers to properly develop their cognitive, language, motor and emotional skills. They cannot learn from digital media as well as they do from their caretakers. Starting at 15 months a toddler can start to learn from media IF the parents watch with them and reteach them. By 24 months, children can learn from a live video chat or an interactive touch screen. But the interaction with the child during media use by the caretaker is still deemed crucial.
This is not a new issue. Studies have evaluated Sesame Street and found that watching it can improve cognitive, literacy and social outcomes for children three to five. But most of the new ‘apps’ parents see under the educational category have no evidence that they work and they were developed with little or no input from developmental specialist.
Other concerns expressed with technology use in the young is the affect on obesity (for 2 year olds their BMI increased for every hour per week of media), and sleep (media can impair sleep due to its interesting subject matter or by the light emitted from the screen).
The AAP recommends no more then 1 hour per day of digital media for children ages two to five. For more information and assistance on this topic, see Www.healthychidren.org/MediaUsePlan.