In the modern age of digitisation, it can be difficult for parents and guardians to know whether TV or screen time is good for children. Screen time is often seen as a negative thing due to the impacts it may have on a growing child’s development. But there are some advantages to TV including creativity and exposure to emotional skills which can truly benefit kids.
The type of impact watching TV has on a child will naturally be dependent on the kind of shows they watch, but there are some common themes from TV exposure that we can take a look at. Learn more about the pros and cons of TV screen time in this guide to help decide how much TV time your child or youngster should have throughout their childhood and whether or not it is beneficial to your daily routine.
There are a variety of different TV shows and streaming content that your child might like to watch, spanning from cartoons to wildlife documentaries and beyond. Television can help positively shape a child’s character if they are exposed to the right kind of narratives which can go as far as promoting emotional and social development skills. Some of the best advantages of TV for kids are outlined below.
One of the main pros of TV and screen time for children is that it helps keep children entertained for significant periods of time. Kids’ shows in particular are designed to engage children in the story, with some shows even including interactive elements such as Dore the Explorer. TV shows can, therefore, teach kids to use their imaginations, deal with new and unfamiliar situations, and ultimately how to stay focused and engaged.
If your child struggles to engage with traditional teaching methods, exposing them to educational programmes can be a great way to encourage them to learn while still having fun. Many shows provide strong educational foundations with mental maths, analytical thinking, and problem-solving often involved. Screen time can thus be very valuable for those seeking a modern solution to traditional teaching methods.
What’s more, in the early years, it can be beneficial for children to be exposed to language in different formats. By listening and mimicking speech patterns they hear in their every day, children can learn how to correctly pronounce words, expand their vocabulary, and become more familiar with language nuances as a whole. Even the most entertaining and uninformative TV shows can be advantageous for a child’s language development.
Though with the positives, come the negatives. TV and screen-time are beneficial in some areas, but they can equally hinder a child’s development if done in excess. Paediatricians often advise against watching too much TV as it can, in some circumstances, be harmful to children. Take a look at some of the disadvantages we’ve listed below in order to gauge a more comprehensive outlook on screen time for children.
Too much TV time could put children at risk of developing obesity or other health disorders as they are less likely to engage in sports and common active play exercises. What’s more, lazy eye syndrome can develop whereby a child experiences blurry or reduced vision from too much screen time. All of these things can impact a child for the rest of their childhood and into adulthood, prompting life-long difficulties.
Research has shown that children who spend more than 2 to 3 hours a day in front of a screen daily may suffer from a lack of focus. Particularly with short-form video content such as TikTok videos or YouTube shorts, children are more likely to lose focus and only be able to engage with entertainment in short spurts. It is therefore important that screen time does not consume a child’s life to avoid such negative consequences.
Despite offering some advantages towards social skills such as improved language abilities, TV can also negatively affect children in their developmental stages before the age of 2 if not limited. Before 2 years old, a child’s brain is wired to foster social and emotional learning. As a screen does not interact with a child on a personal level, even if it offers interactive elements, it can impact a child’s mental state and social interactions moving forward. It is therefore essential that TV time is limited particularly during the developmental stages so your child has the opportunity to develop such necessary skills.