The world we live in continues to evolve in the sense that we are more electronically driven. With increased innovation, our use of phones, tablets, and computers seems to make up the bulk of our day. At the health center all of our documentation and medical records are electronically based. Statistics show that in 2017 the average adult spent 5.9 hours using digital media. This figure has likely increased over the past 2 years.

Children are also spending increased time in front of screens. Many schools use computers for the majority of their assignments. Children are often issued computers for use in school and at home. Kids may be spending more than 6-7 hours a day looking at screens. Research has found increased correlations between screen time and rates of anxiety and depression.

The recommendations issued from the World Health Organization state infants under 1 year of age should not have any exposure to screens. Screen time should be limited to 1 hour a day for children ages 2-4. Moreover the recommendation states that limited or eliminated screen time for children under 5 years of age will promote healthier lifestyles, resulting in healthier adults.

By eliminating or limiting screen time children are more likely to engage in interactive and creative play activities resulting in improved development of fine motor and gross motor coordination. Subsequently, with the development of coordination, a child’s language development is also enhanced.

Some ideas to replace screens include: board games, coloring, painting, using scissors, assisting with cooking/baking, dress up, yoga, jump rope, swinging, biking, reading, etc. There are so many ways to encourage a child’s creativity while also limiting their interaction with electronics. I encourage you to think about these statistics this holiday season as you shop for the kids on your list. Gift activities that will encourage brain development and facilitate healthy lifestyles!

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