The American Pediatric Association’s recommendation for “no screen time before 2 years old” is like stepping back in time and recommending using diaper pins versus tape tabs to secure diapers. It sticks families with unrealistic rules for today’s digital world. Their statement swaddles the important issue of screen time so tightly that it merely reproaches parents who do nothing to limit or manage kids' screen time, while failing to address the overriding issue: positive versus negative content. Guidance for how to achieve a healthy balance of screen time would have been a far more valuable and realistic approach. Technology is not going away, and babies will be exposed to it because their parents and older siblings are using it. Besides, technology is ultimately good for babies. Short time spans of screen time, which features educational content, makes babies smarter and offers no ill effects. A baby’s brain is full of unconnected synapses — potential intelligence. Brain stimulation in infants, which also requires engagement of their attention, is what connects their synapses via increased blood flow, which creates neuronal pathways between the synapses. The number of connections is the measure of actual intelligence. In other words, screen time can be learning time. So, there's no need to feel guilty. Mom and Dad: it's okay to take a break. It's okay to secure the baby in an appropriate safe seat, and give the child an iPad that's set to an educational eBook or app that has enhanced sound, rich visuals, and auto page turning. Parents get to enjoy a few minutes of quiet time. Babies get to enjoy multi-sensory learning experiences that grow new neuronal pathways in their brains. Parents can then take their babies on a walk and explore the wonders of the outdoors. That’s called balance. Balance is essential to learning to walk; balanced screen time that focuses on educational content is essential for raising healthy, smart kids growing up in a technology riddled world.
Sherry Maysonave, author of EggMania, believes that even babies can benefit from a balanced media diet. Visit her online athttp://maniatales.com
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