Screens of various kinds are now a major part of people's daily lives, for both adults and children. Screens include TVs, computer screens, tablets and smartphones. Many parents today have concerns about the use of screens by their children.
Frequently asked questions about children and screen time
What does the research say? Is it dangerous for children to use screens? How often and for how long should you sit at a screen? How young can you be to surf the internet? These are questions that many parents ask themselves.
The latest research shows that excessive screen use by children under 3 years old can be harmful to their development. Children develop in interaction with others, so it is through the secure relationship with parents that children can explore and learn to understand the world around them more and more. Interaction through play and movement is important for language and motor development. Sitting with your child and reading a book by pointing and talking about what you see in the pictures is stimulating and strengthens the bond between you and your child. Research shows that what happens on a screen is not perceived in the same way for children under 3 years old as for an adult, as the image information from the screen cannot be transferred to reality. Learning takes place in physical and three-dimensional reality. Social interaction through play and movement is also important for children's language and motor development. Therefore, screen time needs to be limited so that it does not take away from the interaction that is most stimulating for the child.
Content with strong sounds, colors and fast-moving objects can be difficult for young children to sort out and they can easily become over-stimulated. Children can also find things happening on the TV or screen scary and creepy, so it's good for you as a parent to sit with the child so that they have someone to turn to if they find the content scary. It is what children watch and that you do it together that is important and is what you as a parent need to relate to.
Children over 3 years old
How to deal with children over 3 years old? Today, digital tools are used both at home and in preschool. It is good for children to become familiar with digital tools early on, but with the help and support of adults. As a parent, you need to be aware of what is offered to children and make them safe on the internet. There are many ways to activate blocks so that inappropriate online content does not become available to the child; check with your internet service provider what is available. It is not the length of screen time but the content that is most important. Be interested and guide your child in what they can watch and keep track of the apps you download and what they contain. Is it possible to buy something in the app? Many parents have desperately discovered that their child has been "buying" things and it has become an expensive affair for the family.
It is good to have rules and structure around TV viewing and other screen time to avoid conflicts. If the conflicts take over, it can be good to take a break from screen time. The child should preferably sit at a distance of 40 cm from the screen as it is not good for eye development to sit too close. It is also good to take breaks, both for the eye and to avoid being sedentary for too long. Alternate screen time and activity, indoors and out.
Experiencing things and events should be enjoyable and fun, create a balance between different activities and screen time in everyday life. If you have more questions and concerns about screens and screen time, you can contact the BVC or visit 1177.
Keep in mind that YOUR screen time affects the child and that children want to do what their parents do!
Want to read about activities for children aged 1-2? Click here here!