There’s too much conflicting information on screen time for children, so we did our own extensive research. Long story short, screen time might not be useful at all for children under 2. Before diving into the results, there’s a term you should understand - ‘dual representation’.
What is ‘dual representation’?
Dual Representation refers to the ability to understand that a symbol represents an actual object. For example, when you read a map, you understand that the symbol of a lake represents an actual lake. Similarly, when you take an online class for math, you know that the numbers on the screen correspond to the numbers in your test later on.
This is a pretty easy concept to grasp, right?
Not necessarily. Research shows that children under 3 do not have a solid understanding of dual representation. That is, even if they seem to be learning a lot through learning games, apps, or vocabulary videos on YouTube, they won’t necessarily be able to apply that knowledge in real life.
At least screens keep my child occupied.
This might be true, but screen time is not harmless either. Researchers found that children under 12 months who watched TV for 2 hours or more per day were six times more likely to have language delays. Another study found that infants and toddlers who watched more than 2 hours of TV per day were also more likely to have lower communication skills.
Does that mean 0 screen time is allowed?
We get it. Sometimes you need some time for yourself and a screen is the best way to occupy your child. A few minutes of screen time here and there is fine. It’s just important to remember that screens shouldn’t be used as a pacifier because your child will begin to form associations between screen time and calming down.
If you find yourself relying more and more on screens to calm your child down, you’re not alone! Lucky for you, experts have discovered many effective ways of disciplining young children.