Think of how many times a day you check your phone, watch a show on Netflix, or flip through an eBook on your tablet. How many hours of screen time do you think you get? While it might be harmless to you, early exposure to electronics is potentially dangerous for your infant.
It's understandable why parents are starting to give their young children iPods, smartphones, or tablets to keep them amused. It's a good way to keep junior out of trouble while mommy gets a glass of water.
What you may not know is infants of 18 months or younger should NEVER be given "screen time."
The first 18 months of development are crucial to a baby, and when they're exposed to the the sounds and movements on a screen, they tend to become overstimulated. This can be dangerous because it negatively affects brain development.
Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, assistant professor at UCLA, says, "The noise and activity of a screen are distracting for a child. Even if the baby isn't directly looking at the screen - for example, if a mother is nursing her child on the couch while watching TV - the baby can be overstimulated by the lights and sounds, which may cause distress and sleep problems."
Pediatricians agree that screen time for young children can decrease attention span, concentration, and appetite control. Yikes.
That's not all. Exposing children of a young age to screens can cause problems with social development. According to David L. Hill, MD, "What infants and toddlers need most to learn is interaction with the people around them...When it comes to day-to-day learning they need to touch things, shake them, throw them, and most of all to see the faces and hear the voices of those they love the most."
Of course, it's not always possible to keep your phone in the other room while feeding or holding a baby, but the key word is moderation. Long-term exposure to screens isn't good for little ones, but after 18 months, a little exposure to technology won't hurt. Just make sure your toddler gets plenty of interaction with the outside world.
Did you know this? Don't forget to tell your mom friends!