Apple iPads seem great as makeshift babysitters. You get to keep your kid preoccupied as you attend to work or social commitments. But the excessive screentime comes with a cost as it’s linked to stunted development among children.
As published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, a study authored by Japanese scientists found a dose-response association between the amount of screen time that children were exposed to and their subsequent developmental delays in five domains: communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem-solving, and personal social skills.
In particular, the study findings indicate that the children’s increased screen time during their first year of age was associated with communication and problem-solving skills at the ages of 2 and 4 years. The authors state that the results of their study corroborate earlier research efforts that demonstrate a link between screen time and developmental outcomes.
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More than 7,097 kids were surveyed in this study through their mothers between July 2013 and March 2017. The study noted that mothers whose children had extensive screen time tended to be younger, had a lower household income, possessed a lower level of maternal education, and had undergone postpartum depression.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. John Hutton of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said that the impact of screen exposure on children should definitely be a global concern. He emphasized that children acquire language skills when they are encouraged to engage in conversation. Hearing the words from screens alone may not be interactive enough for the children to practice speaking.