Screen Time for the Little One: Yes or No? 

Face time, not screen time.

I am a new mom and aside from the issue of exclusively breastfeeding or mix feeding the baby, the most popular issue in the household is screen time. I am a firm believer of a no or super limited screen time until my daughter is 2 years old. Screen time can be tv or ipad. Take note that I am not planning to deprive her of tv or an ipad forever, it will just be at the right time. After age 2, i plan to help her choose the shows to watch.

Why? Because of 3 things:

A. More screen time means less productive time. Like for us adults, facebook, instragram,youtube are all distractions to the things that happens in front of us. Instead of talking during lunch break with colleagues, we tend to browse through our newsfeed and check on someone else life. Instead of fostering friendship in person, we tend to just send them a whatsapp msg. This is the same for infants and toddlers. Instead of  letting my daughter spend her waking moments (which is kinda less specially she is just 5 months) listening to nursery rhymes through an ipad or making her busy by turning on the tv, I want her to build relationships and familiarize herself with her environment. I want my child to play more with her toys, look around, practice rolling over, playing with her lola and laughing at the silly sounds I make.

B. Knowing how to use an ipad is not vital for a kid’s survival. According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, our brain’s function is not learning but survival. “If we want a well educated child, you must create an environment of safety.” It is important that I will be able to make my daughter feel safe and loved and that again is through interaction as much as possible. Additionally, I am of the opinion that infants/kids should first learn a couple of things like eating on her own, using the loo and developing social skills than knowing how to operate gadgets. Talking to my daughter or playing with her rather than leaving her in front of an ipad will familiarize her with a myriad of emotions and reactions. That a smile means happiness, a wave connotes familiarity and eye contact connotes sincerity.

C. Screen time trains kids to be impatient. Kids are sponges. They just absorb anything that we feed them. Interactive shows, ipad games are all fast paced. They have music, letters dancing and dinosaurs singing. In real life, kids needs to sit through dinner without those just people conversing, go to mass when there are no Hi5 crew dancing but just praying and chanting. If i just expose Anaiah to that, how would she tolerate slow days like flying a kite at the park? Additionally, more screen time is linked to sleep problems and difficulty to focus. At the University of Washington, they conducted a study and they found out that for every hour per day the children spent watching certain children DVDs and videos, the infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them.

Having said this, at the end of the day, each child and parent is different. This what works for me and my kid. This may not be true for you.

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