PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Let’s talk about “tablet time” – better known as the time your child spends on electronic devices.
Is it entertainment, study or babysitting?
It’s a hot topic with parents and carers.
This is also a conundrum because there are people who are anti-tablet and who see it as an important part of their child’s life and their own.
Meet Oliver, he’s two and a half years old.
Oliver’s mother Kim Osheskie said: ‘He has his own tablet and sometimes he will ask for his phone.
She thinks about Oliver’s electronic time a lot.
“I don’t want him all to be a tablet kid but that’s how it is at this point,” she said.
Dr Anthony Mannarino, Allegheny Health Network’s child psychologist says tablet time is fine but…
“I think for sure parents have to limit their time because electronics are so tempting, right? The noises, the colors, the animation, the little kids just love it,” he said. “If you don’t put a limit on it, they’ll just stay on those tablets indefinitely.”
“I didn’t want to get him involved so much that it hindered his development,” Osheskie said. “I want him to be exposed to everything because he’s going to be exposed to that anyway.”
“I don’t agree with that at all,” added Dr. Mannarino. “I think they need to become proficient in the use of electronic devices. The question is, can we find a balance with their capabilities across devices, in addition to being able to interact face-to-face with others, read books and other enjoyable activities, beyond electronics? ”
Part of the problem, and Osheskie makes it, is that kids see us on our devices and want to do the same, so someone has to set a limit.
It’s really not optional, and depending on the age of the child, older kids may stay on their electronic devices longer.
However, it is a point of contention between spouses and caregivers.
Are electronic devices being used as fake babysitters?
Osheskie said she had seen an example of this, especially in restaurants, before Oliver.
She recalls: “I have seen parents come into the house and just put the tablet in front of their children to distract them so they can sit and enjoy a delicious meal.
Dr. Mannarino says screen time must be managed.
“If a kid is on a tablet for 15 minutes while they’re waiting for dinner, and I don’t think that’s a big deal,” he said. “I think what happens is they use the tablet for an entire meal while the parents are eating, and then 15 minutes turns into an hour or so and then I think that’s a concern. ”
That’s what Osheskie thinks a lot about and does.
“We try to limit as much time as possible,” she said. “He has a playroom and it holds all sorts of toys. I try to get him into anything else and I’m usually pretty good at that. ”
All that said, there are times when a tablet or electronic device is very convenient.
“When we had other things to do, cooking, cleaning, it was really easier to give it to him,” she added.
Dr. Mannarino agrees.
“I appreciate that and that parents who have chores and other things to do, let a kid use a tablet for 30 minutes or 45 minutes, that’s fine,” he said.
There are also some places to avoid children using electronic devices.
“We don’t give it to him in the car, things like that,” Osheskie said. “We try not to give it to him in his bedroom.”
So is Dr. Mannarino, especially when it comes to bedtime.
“That blue light can make it harder for children to fall asleep, so I recommend that parents turn off all electronic devices an hour or more before bed,” he explains. “The same is true of older children.”
According to Dr. Mannarino, sleep deprivation can end with a child being irritable in the morning and unable to concentrate at school. He also said to avoid table time during family dinners, that’s when the family should socialize and do a check in on everyone’s day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says there’s no screen for kids younger than 2, up to 15-30 minutes for kids under 5, and gradually increasing as children get older, but still limited to older children.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/01/26/screen-time-and-limits-for-children/ How much time is your child using the device? – CBS Pittsburgh