Screen Time and Developing Brains

Screen Time and Developing Brains
November 17, 2017

There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.
-Douglas MacArthur

“Educational apps and TV shows are great ways for children to sharpen their developing brains and hone their communication skills—not to mention the break these gadgets provide harried parents. But tread carefully: A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media,” writes Liraz Margalit, PhD, in a Psychology Today article.

Margalit explains that “parents who jump to screen time in a bid to give their kids an educational edge may actually be doing significantly more harm than good—and they need to dole out future screen time in an age-appropriate matter…When a young child spends too much time in front of a screen and not enough getting required stimuli from the real world, her development becomes stunted…Much of the issue lies with the fact that what makes tablets and iPhones so great—dozens of stimuli at your fingertips, and the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously—is exactly what young brains do not need.

“Tablets are the ultimate shortcut tools: Unlike a mother reading a story to a child, for example, a smartphone-told story spoon-feeds images, words, and pictures all at once to a young reader. Rather than having to take the time to process a mother’s voice into words…kids who follow stories on their smartphones get lazy. The device does the thinking for them, and as a result, their own cognitive muscles remain weak.”

Source: “What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids’ Brains,” by Liraz Margalit, PhD., Psychology Today, April 17, 2016