Are your kids addicted to ‘digital drugs?’

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Is YOUR child at risk?

TODDLERS should not be watching any computers or televisions and children under five should have any viewing limited to an hour a day, parents have been warned by a new piece of research.

The use of ‘digital nannies’  or as I call them ‘electric babysitters’ such as iPads and laptops for hours each day is risking the health and development of young children, according to a leading child psychiatrist.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, of the Priory Clinic group, said: “The ubiquitous use of smart phones amongst adults is now also the case among pre-school children.

“But there is ample evidence to demonstrate the negative effects of screen time on older children, particularly on those using screens for more than three hours a day; these include structural and functional brain imaging changes, increases in emotional distress and higher rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as lack of sleep.

“The pre-school years are particularly vital for developing non-verbal skills that young people miss completely when on screens.”

Being addicted to digital screen time is affecting children’s concentration, imagination and ability to communicate confidently.

It’s also about changing the way they think and process information.

Too much screen time and not enough other activities, such as reading, playing games, and good old unstructured and imaginative play, will result in your children having their brains wired in ways that may make them less, not more, prepared to thrive in this crazy new world of technology.

Read this article in Psychology Today


Advice from the AAP:

Avoid all digital media use in children below two years old other than video calls
Between two and five, limit screen time to one hour a day
Chose high-quality programmes and engage with the child while they are watching – do not let them use media alone
Avoid fast-paced programmes and those with distracting or violent content
Turn off technology when not in use
Avoid using media as a means of calming the child. This could cause problems developing their own emotional regulation
Test apps before the child uses them and play together, asking for feedback from them
Keep bedrooms and mealtimes media-free
No screen time for at least an hour before bed

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