Much like most adults are more than happy to sit back, relax, and scroll on social media, plenty of kids today also love plopping down in front of an iPad or iPhone.
From shows like Bluey to online games like Roblox, there is no shortage of kid-tailored content available on smart devices today.
But while throwing on YouTube Kids or downloading a new game might seem like a harmless way to occupy your child so you can get some stuff done, new research suggests the habit could be detrimental.
According to a recent study conducted by scientists at Tohoku University in Japan, leaving 1-year-old babies in front of screens is associated with developmental delays.
Over 7,000 mother-child pairs participated in the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study. The participating children were almost equally split in terms of gender– 51.8 % were boys, and 48.2% were girls.
The researchers examined these pairs by providing questionnaires to the mothers to determine each child’s screen time exposure. The questionnaire asked about everything from TV watching and video game playing to the use of mobile phones, tablets, and other digital devices with visual displays.
Afterward, the team divided the kids into four different groups depending on screen time exposure. Just over 48% of the children used screens for less than one hour a day; meanwhile, 29.5% had between one and two hours of screen time.
Next, 17.9% of the children were given between two and four hours of screen time. Finally, just 4.1% of the kids were exposed to screens for four or more hours.
The researchers also kept tabs on how each child was progressing in five key areas at ages two and four. These areas included communication, fine motor, gross motor, problem-solving, social and personal skills. Most previous research did not dive into these specific developmental zones, which is why the scientists believe their study provides the most detailed look at this topic.