Children on mobile: can it delay development?

In the past, there was a concern that children would not spend a lot of time in front of the television. Today this continues, but the device may have changed.

The so-called smartphones and tablets may even be a good entertainment for the little ones, but the fact is that they can affect their motor coordination and cognitive ability over time.

The danger is in the number of hours in front of the screens: when this time is high, it can affect the child’s development.

This relationship was established through a Canadian survey published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics , which analyzed whether the use of cell phones in childhood is related to poor performance in child development tests .

The first step was to accompany more than 2,000 mothers and their children (from birth to the growth of babies).

Since the beginning of the research, mothers have informed researchers about the time their children spent on cell phones on weekdays and weekends. They also answered questionnaires related to the child’s performance in development tests at 2, 3 and 5 years of age.

As a result, the researchers observed that 24-month-olds who spent more time in front of screens had poor results on developmental tests at 36 months. The same happened in tests for the following ages.

Despite not clearly explaining the relationship between cause and effect, the study confirms the existence of a possible link between the excessive use of screens and difficulties in development.

Therefore, the point is that the problem is not in the use of the cell phone, but in the hours that the child is connected to the devices.

Parents should restrict the use of technologies

Alerting parents is always necessary. The Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) does not recommend the use of cell phones and tablets for children under 2 years . And in those aged 2 to 5 years, use should be only one hour a day, and always under adult supervision.

In this age group, it is important that parents reduce the hours the child is in front of the devices, and exchange them for a family time or for activities with other children. That is, it is essential to teach the child to interact, talk and have contact with other people.

And if the child is older, it is important that parents have access to everything they see. Violent and sexual content is easily found on the internet. Therefore, it is worth the concern of not leaving the little one in contact with this type of material.

But it is also worth remembering that not everything is bad. A good use of the devices connected to the internet can bring some benefits to the child.

Educational programs, games that help with learning, are examples that can help your child to work on cognitive skills.

However, this also needs to come from the parents, who must have control over the child’s device, regardless of age.

Since children overuse mobile devices, they distance themselves from friends and family. This makes them less patient, less attentive and less able to express themselves.