Toddler Screen Time Should Be a Shared Experience with a Parent

A new report seeks to dispel outdated myths about young children and screen exposure. While it's important that screen time isn't used as a replacement for personal contact, the two aren't at all mutually exclusive.

In a recent piece over at Slate, Lisa Guernsey ponders a question that has many a parent scratching their head: How much screen time is too much for a toddler? This has been quite the contentious issue for years, with televisions having been the main target for debate in the past. But now that tablets and other smart devices are beginning to dominate education and entertainment media, researchers all over are attempting to determine just how much exposure is healthy for the developing brain.


Guernsey points toward a newly released guide by Zero to Three, a non-profit that focuses on issues related to childhood development:

"The guide, Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight, is an objective account of the research, summarizing the implications via “both-and” statements such as 'children should have lots of time for play in the real, 3-D world,' and parents should 'make screen use a shared experience.'”

For years, pediatricians have cautioned against substituting human interaction with screen time, particularly with children younger than 2. But, as Guernsey writes, those opinions are from a time when watching a screen was an individual action. With the advent of tablets (and programming designed to be tackled by both child and parent), Zero to Three's report supports the idea that screen time as a mutual experience can be beneficial.

Take a look at the full article below and let us know what you think.

Read more at Slate

Photo credit: Sinseeho / Shutterstock

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