Screen time early on affects kids’ senses, says new study

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screen-time-early-on-affects-kids-senses(NaturalHealth365)  Screens have become an alternative reality, with the pandemic accelerating the shift towards a lifestyle dominated by screens across all age groups.  Many parents now opt for increased screen usage to manage parenting responsibilities, foregoing the traditional time and effort required for conventional parenting.

Newly published data in JAMA Pediatrics highlights the challenges associated with excessive screen time for infants and adolescents.  Scientists emphasize the considerable drawbacks of screens for children, advocating for completely avoiding screen exposure until at least the age of 3.

Screen time changes infant behavior and psychology

Your household likely contains devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops.  If infants or adolescents are in the home, it’s advisable to store these screens in hard-to-reach or locked storage spaces.

The linked study outlines how exposing infants to screens hinders their ability to process surrounding information.  The findings indicate that infants and young children should abstain from all screen use for at least the first two years of their lives.  Unfortunately, many parents turn to screens for childhood education and entertainment, leading to sensory disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.

Children diagnosed with ADHD or autism tend to withdraw from their environment and human interactions.  Many individuals with these diagnoses prefer solitary activities like video games, internet use, and internal monologues – a phenomenon sociologists and psychologists call main character syndrome.

Screen exposure at one year linked to 105% rise in sensory issues by age three

The researchers responsible for the study analyzed data concerning 1,471 infants and children under the age of two, focusing on their screen-viewing habits.  The evaluation of participants’ development at the 33-month mark was conducted through a questionnaire completed by parents.

The study uncovered a connection between screen time at one year of age and a 105% increased likelihood of sensory processing issues by the third year of life.  Children exposed to screens in infancy often experience language difficulties, behavioral problems, problem-solving challenges, and disrupted sleep.

Additionally, the research indicates that each additional daily hour of screen time by the 18-month mark increases the probability of sensory issues by 23%.  The odds of adverse outcomes rise by 20% at the 24-month mark.

Screen time also worsens health outcomes for adults

Most adults are nostalgic for the pre-screen dominance age of the 70s, 80s and 90s.  The light emitted from screens is just as addictive for adults as it is for kids.

Excessive screen time, meaning six or more hours per day increases the risk of depression.  Social media use is especially harmful to adult psychology.  Minimize your screen time, and you’ll greatly reduce the chances of negative health outcomes such as low-quality sleep, insomnia, headaches, eye strain, and reduced or altered cognition.

Tips to reduce your screen time

The ancient Greek philosophers correctly warned their students and peers about the dangers of spending even a brief time in fictional worlds.  It is high time everyone admits screens constitute a warped alternate reality.

You can reduce your screen time by forming and strengthening social bonds.  Spend time with family, friends, and acquaintances face-to-face.  Join a local social club, sign up for a sports recreation league, or take an adult education class.

If you or your child are spending too much time on the screen, set a timer on your phone or use a traditional timer to limit your screen use to a couple of 30-minute sessions per day.  If your work requires the use of a computer or mobile device – for hours a day … try to take breaks, get outside for a bit (as often as possible) and get that face-to-face connection going as much as you can.

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