More than half of parents prohibit the use of screens (television, computer, phone or tablet) at the table or in the room, reveals an American survey of 560 parents of preschool children. However, many would not limit the duration of use.
In fact, about 25% of parents of 2- to 5-year-olds reported that their toddlers spent more than 3 hours a day in front of a screen, says a national survey of children’s health conducted by researchers in Canada. The University of Michigan.
With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, framing screens is challenging for parents, researchers say. They note that limiting where children can use a screen seems to be easier than controlling time.
The researchers point out that a child aged 2 to 5 should not spend more than 2 hours a day in front of a screen as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In Quebec, public health sets this limit at 1 hour per day. Both American and Quebec experts advise against exposure for children under 2 years old.
When a child spends too many hours in front of a screen, the time that can be spent on other activities beneficial to their development (eg, watching books, playing outside, or drawing) is too limited, say the researchers. Previous studies have also shown that children who listen too much to television suffer more from attention deficit, obesity or sleep disorders.