Screen Time Control: What Parents Must Do To Curb Digital Addiction In Toddlers

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 21, 04:00 am
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Dolphins are intelligent enough to operate touchscreens
Experts said that today's kids should be allowed to use gadgets, but it is up to parents to enforce limits and balance.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Screen time control is a big problem for parents as children as young as 2-years-old are already used to digital devices even before they learn to talk. The susceptibility to technology, however, can turn kids into digital junkies. What must parents do to fight digital addiction in toddlers?

Experts backed by different studies or research advice parents with children below 2-years-old to provide zero screen time. Moms and dads, however, juggle different daily tasks and cannot monitor everything. So, zero screen time might not be a practical or doable solution for most families, according to Ten Play.

Realistically speaking, kids growing up in this internet generation are primed to become digital nomads. Thus, the use of gadgets and connectivity is already a big part of their lifestyle early on. Parents, however, can still take charge of their children's screen time and use of technology.

One suggestion is to set up screen time guidelines at home and follow through on its enforcement. Parents must define how much time a toddler can have with gadget use, especially on weekends when the kids are not in daycare or preschool.

Under the new guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, use of gadgets in children isn't discouraged as it also provides learning. Parents, however, must balance screen time exposure with creative activities. Parents must make sure to prepare other activities for the kids as soon as they are no longer allowed to use gadgets for the day.

"Parents play an important role in helping children and teens navigate media, which can have both positive and negative effects," AAP expert Megan Moreno said. "The key is mindful use of media within a family," she added.

Toddlers might throw a tantrum or battle it out with the parents if their screen time use is cut off. To prevent this, parents must warn the child ahead of time that gadget routine privileges are almost over.

Dr. Christopher Ferguson said that rather than putting the focus on screen time, parents should instead focus on what the children digests from using technology, according to Psych Central. They should be exposed to the right content to aid in learning, skill development and socialization for older kids.

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