A recent article in the Guardian has once again highlighted the ongoing debate surrounding the amount of time children should be spending on electronic devices. The article examines a new Canadian study which links slower brain development in young children to excessive amounts of time in front of electronic screens. The study, carried out on children between the ages of two and five found that large amounts of screen time has a lasting negative impact. Impeding the rapid progression a child’s brain undergoes between these years.

The article highlights that there are others that find screen time a lesser contributing factor to a child’s brain development compared to other issues such as family income, sleep and being read to. However, this debate continues to highlight an increasingly important issue for our children.

Yes, digital devices and applications offer an important function for youth development in today’s world. They are key learning tools when it comes to improving a child’s knowledge, language capabilities, problem-solving skills and hand to eye coordination. It can also be argued that children capable of navigating the digital sphere presented to them on such devices are merely honing the skills they need to flourish in 21st Century society. However, increased reliance on the digital world has meant that interaction with the outside world continues to diminish. This in itself can cause problems such as; obesity, hindering important social interaction and digital addiction.

The use of mobile devices and increased time spent on screens seems inevitable in today’s society. Yet it is important for a child’s development, both physically and mentally, that children receive alternative stimuli that takes them away from digital devices and especially screens.

It is difficult in today’s fast-paced world for parents to create time away from the digital sphere for children. However, for the correct balance to be struck between both the digital and physical world. Parents need to monitor and control levels of screen time their children are spending on digital devices.

Importantly, alternatives that allow children to interact with the outside world should be introduced to offset the increasing time children spend in the digital realm. Fresh air, exercise and adventures are all important aspects of a child’s life. They provide children with the building blocks to understand the wider world and give them the foundation for success for the coming years.   

At teddybots we want to find the right balance of on and offline activities that engaging, healthy and fun. We believe that this will develop a healthy understanding of tech.

What are your thoughts on young people and how they use technology? Let us know in the comments.