Screen time for babies not healthy, doctors say

Even babies are using computers these days.

            Research from Great Britain shows that babies and toddlers can quickly learn how to use touch-screen smartphones and tablets. But it might not be good for them.

            While it’s not a bad idea to teach young children some digital skills, some parents are starting them too young, the report from the royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has reported.

            The study said doctors are concerned about how screen time affects the brains of children who spend time with tablets, game consoles, TVs and laptops.

Their use could negatively affect a child’s attention span and concentration; encourage a sedentary lifestyle and even disrupt appetite control.

Some child development experts say that children younger than 2 years old should not watch TV or play with electronic games or computers.

Time spent with computers and TVs is time not spent doing physical activity, like crawling, walking, climbing and exploring the study said.

Physical play, the report emphasized, is important for a child’s mental and emotional development. Plus, it helps keep weight under control, the study said.

It also means the child spends less time interacting with parents and playing with other children.

Older children should limit screen time to one or two hours a day, the report suggests—including TV, DVDs, computers, phones and tablets—even if the digital games are educational.

            And parents should engage with children as they play on-screen games and avoid “passive” use of electronics.