Experts say kids are spending too much time with their eyes glued to the boob tube, using cell phones, computers, video games, DVD players, and other mobile devices.
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria is assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “The increasing amount of screen time that kids have has a number of detrimental effects including the amount of time it takes out of their day that could be spent, you know, playing outside, interacting with each other, those sorts of things.”
Watching too much TV is linked to obesity; Navsaria says there are studies showing a negative impact of too much screen time on children’s health, decision-making skills and the ability to learn. Even if it’s a so-called educational toy, Navsaria says it can’t compared to the positive impact of human interaction.
“At the height of infancy and toddlerhood, there’s as many as 700 new neural connections happening a second in those kids brains and you want to wire them in the best possible way.”
He says that neuron wiring is accomplished by face-to-face interaction with other human beings such as parents, siblings and day-care providers.
Navsaria says even if a toddler is not watching TV, but it’s on in the other room, those children have lower IQs and lower vocabulary scores because their siblings and parents are watching TV in lieu of interacting with the little guys.
UW Health says preschoolers are spending more than three hours a day in front of a screen, and older kids more than seven hours.
“Screen-Free Week” is formerly “TV Turn Off Week.” It’s been updated for modern times. (April 18-24).