Articles abound in parenting magazines counseling parents that so-called “baby tech” on phones and tablets have healthy developmental benefits for young children. “Best Apps for Babies,” “Amuse and Educate” – these are actual headlines.
Scratch that iPad from your young child’s Amazon wish list, though. Children under the age of 2 years old should spend zero time in screen-based activities, according to new recommendations released in April by the World Health Organization (WHO). Children ages 2 through 4 years old should have less than 1 hour per day of screen time. Screen time is best when parent and child view the material together.
“What we really need to do is bring back play for children,” said Dr Juana Willumsen of the WHO.
The new guidelines encourage physical activity and play time and limit time spent restrained in a baby carrier or stroller. Research shows that when parents implement these guidelines, their children grow up to have less obesity and better physical and mental health.