The impact of screens on the development of young children is negative. You will find that it is worthwhile to ensure that toddlers do not have access to TV and smartphones too early.
A child’s brain develops very intensively. Particularly important for its development are the first three years of a child’s life, so it is worth ensuring that the toddler is exposed to the right stimuli. It is very important not only to provide him with opportunities for development (such as giving him books and toys adapted to the child’s age), but also to limit factors that negatively affect the development of his brain. One very frequently mentioned harmful stimulus is a child’s television viewing and smartphone use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that TV, smartphones and computers negatively affect children under the age of 2. Doctors have found no positive effects of watching TV or using smartphones for children under 2.
As doctors point out, a child’s brain is not able to tell until about 18 months of age that the images presented on a TV or smartphone screen are not reality. Imagine watching a video in front of your child in which someone beats up another person – the child may have the impression that this is happening right next to him, he sees the harm and it seems completely real to him. That’s why it’s so important not only not to turn on cartoons to young children, but also not to watch TV in their presence, as passive viewing can also do a lot of damage.
The brain consists of two hemispheres. The right part of the brain is responsible for receiving and processing sound and image stimuli. The left hemisphere, in turn, is responsible for the reception and creation of language (speech).
If we allow a young child to watch TV, play with many toys that make sounds and, in addition, are often equipped with flickering lights, his brain receives too much right-hemisphere stimuli. Instead, it does not receive enough left-hemispheric stimuli, and this causes disorders in the normal development of speech. The effects of this are evident in the toddler’s functioning immediately, as well as in the future, as the child, despite a functioning auditory organ, will not be able to correctly process the messages spoken to him (for example, he will hear that we are calling him home, but will not encode what we are saying).
Lack of sufficient left-hemispheric stimuli also impairs mirror neurons, which play an important role in our lives, as they are responsible for, among other things, understanding other people’s emotions and empathy. It’s very easy to guess that a child with such problems also has difficulty interacting with peers and adults.
Children who watch TV are also found to have more frequent vision problems. Toddlers who use TV spend a lot of time on the couch and have less exercise, so they develop postural defects and are often overweight or obese. A much better solution is to let the child play freely. Even playing with pot lids (which have shape, texture, and make sounds when hitting them against each other, so there is some interaction going on) will benefit the child more than spending time in front of a TV or smartphone screen.
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