44 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • JANUARY 2019
FAMILY & EDUCATION
WHAT IS TOO MUCH?
BY MICHELLE DELL’AQUILA
MID-ISLAND Y JCC
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TVs, tablets, phones, and computers
are a staple in many households and
schools use technology to provide
a better education. But how much
screen time is too much for a child?
Children, especially young children,
are susceptible to the negative
effects of too much screen time.
Technology is used often as a
babysitter. It allows children to
become immersed in a TV show or
game. While many parents appreciate
the quiet time, they usually agree
that their children are better off
participating in activities that don’t
If young children spend hours
staring at a screen, the effects can
go beyond physical problems (poor
posture, lack of muscle definition and
damage to eyesight). Cognitive side
effects are among the top-ranked
reasons as to why screen time should
be avoided with young children. Tech
may help children solve problems,
but too much screen time can result in
underdeveloped academic and social
skills, discipline, and self-confidence.
Interactive play outside, with other
children, is one of the most beneficial
(and free!) learning tools available.
There, they can learn how to interact
with other kids, learn to communicate,
problem solve, and boost their
confidence as they experience their
likes and wants in free play.
How much is too much? Infants
and very young children should have
little to no screen time, based on the
recommendations from the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Infant
screen time should be as minimal as
possible. At such a young age, babies
need to learn how to move, grasp
items, recognize faces, and become
vocal. Screen time can stifle babies’
progress, as they learn and grow at a
rapid pace at this age.
School-aged children can spend
anywhere from two to more than six
hours per day experiencing tech and
screen time at school and home. The
limits for screen time as children mature
are less strict, especially since
they are exposed to it in almost every
aspect of their lives. A key factor to
remember when it comes to screen
time is the quality of the content.
Is it an educational game or program?
Will it teach the alphabet,
how to read, or different numbers
or words? These types of content can
support a child’s education.
Parents should set limits at an
early age and be responsible for the
amount of screen time their child
receives. As children mature, parents
can make sure their interactions are
limited and educational.
Michelle Dell'Aquila, M.A. is a
licensed child therapist and director
of Child Development Advice, an
educational consulting agency. For
more information, visit childdevelopmentadvice.
Parents should police how much
screen time a child has.