When my children were young 25 years ago, when we waited to see the doctor, at the car repair shop, or in any other potentially trying situation for young active children, we cuddled and read books together, or I brought their favorite toys (which I let them choose) and we played together.
Today, when I walk into a waiting room, I see parents engrossed in their magazines or talking to each other while their toddlers play on i-pads or other electronic devices. Sure, the children are quiet, but is this really good for the children?
Advocates claim that introducing very young children to computers gives them an intellectual head start. They believe computer programs designed for toddlers can increase hand-eye coordination and attention span, and stimulate budding minds.
Last month the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first statement on young children and screen time since 1999. Once again, the AAP has stated that children birth to two years should not watch television or have any screen time at all.
But unlike previous statements, the AAP is now discouraging the use of background television intended for adults when a young child is in the room. The AAP states, “This updated policy statement provides further evidence that media — both foreground and background — have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than two years.” Continue reading