• Kid's Digital Life

Child Development : How Much Time Does My Kid Spend on iPhone?

By Myros Allegre | 15/05/2017
Child development with tech

Screens are a part of everyday life

Screens are a part of everyday life, and parents must learn how to work with their children to ensure that they have a healthy virtual environment. The amount of screen time appropriate for a child is changing as access to digital devices becomes universal. Whether children are on an iPhone, tablet, or other device, it is critical to consider the impact of screen time on the development of a child.

Effects of Screen Time on Child Development

According to experts in the field, brain development of children ages 3 and under can be negatively impacted when they spend too much time engaged with a screen. This occurs when children do not get adequate stimuli from their external environment, which excludes tablets or other devices. Children who do not get these stimuli can experience stunted development, which can be permanent.

One of the biggest issues with too much screen time is that it offers too many actions and options to the child, which removes the need for the child to make connections and use their own mental effort and imagination. Too much screen time can also keep young children from experiencing the physical world fully, and it can keep them from learning important communication and interaction skills through direct human contact. Social skills such as reading facial expressions and sensing tone changes become lost in the virtual world.

Managing Screen Time

The key to combating the negative effects of technology on child development is to limit screen time in the early years and manage exposure to screen time as children get older. The American Academy of Pediatrics has set out guidelines for parents to follow when it comes to helping their children manage screen time. These guidelines are as follows:

  • Children under the age of 18 months should not engage in any screen time except video chat.
  • Children 18 to 24 months should have very limited screen time that includes only high-quality programming, with parents supervising.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years should be limited to one hour per day of high-quality programming, and parents should view it with them.
  • From age 6 and up, parents should set clear and consistent limits on screen time and how that screen time is used.
  • While too much screen time can affect child development, there is no need to completely ditch the screen. As long as children have adequate limits set on their exposure to screen time and still have plenty of time and opportunity to interact with the external world, they will have a healthy balance that will benefit their overall development.

    It is important to keep in mind that screens are a part of every facet of life in today’s world, including school, work, and play. Removing screens completely from an adolescent’s life can do more harm than good as they would be missing a key component to modern day existence. The key is to ensure that screen time has a clearly defined role in a child’s life, and that it doesn’t dominate a child’s time or environment.