Excessive screen time can be damaging to children.
Children under the age of 2 should not be exposed to any electronic media.
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A recent documentary “Web Junkie,” shown on PBS, and highlighted recently in the New York Times personal health section, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.
Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.
While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.
As teenagers become in essence zombies addicted to cell phones, tablets, computer games and television, a larger problem emerges in small children.
Children's brains continue to grow during the first two years of life, and habits ingrained in us at this time may be difficult if not impossible to break. All too often babies are given cell phones to play with to distract them rather than learning interpersonal skills.
Click on the following link for the Academy of Pediatrics policy recommendation on media and children: "Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens. "
In 2009 the Baby Einstein company, now Disney recommended children to learn best by watching certain DVD's. After much litigation and fanfare Disney ( at the time, the new parent company) offered full refunds and exchanges to those who had bought their products
In conclusion; screen time including cell phones, computer games, and television in older children should in sum never amount to greater than two hours a day.
Television and all screen media should be avoided in all infants and children under the age of two.
Advances in technology should be used to better educate our children and our best used with the supervision and preferably with the interaction of the parent or caregiver.
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