Screen time is something that parents have many various opinions about. Every parent deems the appropriate screen time for their children very differently, but is there a guideline that parents can follow?
In the digital age, many parents have resorted to using screens as a means to pacify their children. Children are also growing increasingly reliant on screens to keep themselves entertained. While convenient, relying on screens as a pacifying tool may not be good for the cognitive and motor development of children, especially those at a very young age.
Just this year in April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under the age of 5. They classified screen time under sedentary behaviour and associated screen time to inadequate sleep in children. An expert suggests that there should be a shift from sedentary time to play time, where children are actively moving, but at the same time getting quality rest when needed. On top of reducing screen time, WHO also recommended for screen time to be replaced with more quality sedentary activities such as reading, storytelling or working on puzzles to help with cognitive development.
While screen time is generally not preferred, it does not mean that it should be completely removed. WHO suggests that infants (of less than 1 year) and children (at age 1) should not have any screen time, but spend sedentary time on engaging the infant in storytelling or reading. Meanwhile, children of ages 2 to 5 should have no more than 1 hour of screen time and engage in quality sedentary activities whenever possible. And according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), children aged 6 and above should have consistent limits on the amount of screen time they get.
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While it is important to limit screen time, it is also important to monitor the content displayed by the screen. Screen time can have a better quality just simply by displaying content that has educational benefits, such as videos teaching the ABCs, or games that encourage children to move. In which case, screen time can even be considered beneficial. It is important to limit screen time for cognitive and motor development purposes, but screen time can be made beneficial with quality content.
The most important lesson to draw from this is that parents should try to engage their children as much as possible to ensure proper cognitive and motor development. While screen time is not bad, it can certainly be made better in terms of the content quality. As long as children are spending their screen time on good content that helps them to learn more, screen time may not be a problem. However, needless to say, activities that engage the young ones in real life and with others are definitely preferred over that in the virtual world.
Alternatively, engage your child in enrichment classes to keep them occupied, while learning at the same time. You can find such enrichment classes at School of Concepts, where your child can learn through having fun! We cater to the needs of your child with our caring teachers. You can reach us at email@example.com, or call us at 6909 1883.