The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with new guidelines for parents, recommending that children under the age of 2 not be exposed to digital media, whether it is television, a smart-phone, a touch-screen tablet, or any of the myriad of technological wonders now on the market for babies. The Academy recommends children and teenagers are restricted to two hours of techno-time.
“In children over age two we find that the more time they spend in front of these electronic devices the less time they spend interacting with other individuals, the less time they spend getting exercise,” Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer of Texas Children’s Pediatrics tells KTRH News. “What studies have shown is that children who do spend these longer periods of time [using electronics] have a higher incidence of attention problems, problems at school, and certainly feel that it also leads to obesity.”
Dr. Spinner says exposure to inappropriate internet content could lead children to being desensitized to violence and other behavioral disorders.
A new survey looking at toddlers and their use of tablets found almost 30% of babies under the age of 2 and 75% of kids under the age of 8 are using touch-screen technology.
“I can tell you from my experience being in an office setting, where children are generally walking around with some type of electronic device in their hand, just like we are as adults, and they’re usually games and usually meant to entertain, but it removes them from people-to-people interaction. We pediatricians used to be able to interact with children very well, but now we have to pull that game console out of their hand, and that’s all they know,” says Dr. Spinner.
He says the warnings by the American Academy of Pediatrics are to be taken seriously and says the concerns are real. Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 7 hours a day engaged with electronic devices, rather than playing with other kids, playing outside, and releasing that boundless energy that comes with youth.