October 29, 2023

Effects of giving your toddler a digital device

Written by Dr. Sandy Portko, Early Childhood Expertise

Family Futures Staff
Toddler on digital device
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Digital devices have become an integral part of our lives, and toddlers are no exception. Many parents give their toddlers digital devices to keep them entertained or to help them learn. However, there are some potential negative effects of giving your toddler a digital device that parents should be aware of.

Impact on sleep

One of the biggest concerns about giving toddlers tablets, or other devices, is the impact it can have on their sleep. The blue light emitted from electronics can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, which can have a negative impact on your toddler’s overall health and well-being.

Impact on attention span

Toddlers are still developing their attention spans, and digital devices can make it difficult for them to focus on other activities. When toddlers are constantly using digital devices, they are not getting the opportunity to practice focusing and paying attention. This can lead to problems in school and in other areas of their lives.

Impact on social-emotional development

Digital devices can also have a negative impact on toddlers’ social-emotional development. Toddlers learn best through interacting with others, and digital devices can displace important social interactions. When toddlers are constantly using digital devices, they are missing out on opportunities to learn how to communicate, cooperate, and resolve conflict.

Impact on physical health

Phones can also have a negative impact on toddlers’ physical health. When toddlers are constantly using phones, they are less likely to be active. This can lead to problems such as obesity and diabetes. Additionally, toddlers who use digital devices for long periods of time are at risk for developing eye problems and other health problems.

What to do

If you are concerned about the effects of digital electronics on your toddler, there are a few things you can do:

  • Limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two have no screen time at all, and that children between the ages of two and five have no more than one hour of screen time per day.
  • Choose high-quality content. If you do allow your toddler to use digital devices, make sure they are using them to access high-quality content. There are many educational apps and websites that are designed for toddlers.
  • Be a role model. Children learn by watching the adults in their lives. If you are constantly using digital devices, your toddler is more likely to do the same.
  • Encourage other activities. Make sure your toddler is spending time on other activities besides using digital devices. Encourage them to play outside, read books, and interact with other children.

It is important to remember that toddlers are still developing, and they need time to explore the world around them without the distraction of electronics. By limiting screen time and encouraging other activities, you can help your toddler develop into healthy and happy children.

Interested in more parenting tips? Check out our other blogs! Link here – familyfutures.org/blog

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