For many kids today, gadgets are not luxuries anymore — they are a way of life. It can very much be an educational tool, but it also provides entertainment and recreation not just for them but for their parents as well. The reality is not whether or not screens stay in their lives. It's now about managing screen time because the dangers of screen addiction is real. That's why we're glad to see celebrity moms are using their social media presence to show how they're regulating its use.
Judy Ann Santos, who has been vocal about encouraging her kids to do outdoor activities, recently showed several kids including her own, Lucho and Yohan, reading books on Instagram. Judy Ann could be heard saying, “Yan, ganyan nga… ganyan nga… ganyan nga. Pwede namang walang gadgets, di ba? Wagi, waging-wagi ang bookstore. Happy New Year.”
In the comments section, a netizen asked how the actress was able to do it. â€¨Judy Ann replied, “[G]ive and take lang...we stick to our 1 hour rule when using gadgets. They have to read a book or at least finish 1 book or more before matapos ang bakasyon:).”
Last September 2017, Juday also posted a photo of Lucho and Yohan reading books while laying on bed. In an interview with Pep.ph, Judy Ann's husband, Ryan Agoncillo, said, "One of the basic rules for Yohan and Lucho when they started to go to school, Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon, they can't do the iPad thing, they can't go on the laptops, they can't touch their video gaming consoles." Judy Ann added they could only use the iPad for research.
Doctor to the stars, Dr. Vicki Belo, also posted a short video with daughter Scarlet Snow at a table looking intently at what looked like reading materials. She posted on the caption: “Sometimes, it’s good not to give your child what she wants (laptop) so they can use their imagination. @scarletsnowbelo working on the first day of the year.”
According to a behavioral and developmental pediatrician, too much screen time for kids affect their development. “Ang isang hindi magandang effect ng screen time sa mga bata ay maaaring maapektuhan yung development ng kanilang speech. Maaari ding maapekto[han] ang social skills,” said Dr. Agnes Falcotelo, on the episode of Magandang Buhay last Friday, January 5, 2018.
At the 2017 Pediatrics Academic Societies Meeting, a study found that, in children 6 months to 2 years old, more time spent on a handheld device or gadget led to a higher likelihood of speech delay.
“I believe it's the first study to examine mobile media device and communication delay in children,” lead researcher Dr. Catherine Birken, a pediatrician and scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada, told CNN.
Results showed that 20 percent of the tots used a gadget for an average of 28 minutes a day. What’s more, every additional 30 minutes of screen time was linked to a 49% increased risk for expressive speech delay, or communication that made use of sounds and words, according to the researchers. (Read more about the study here.)
According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children below 18 months should avoid screens altogether, and the only exception is when it’s used for video-chatting. Children a little older, those between 18 and 24 months, are allowed screens provided that parents choose high-quality programming. The AAP gives Sesame Street as an example of this, meaning age-appropriate educational children’s shows should be a safe bet. Parents should co-watch with their toddlers as well, says the AAP.
For kids ages 2 to 5 years old, screen time should be at a maximum of one hour a day. This, again, should be composed of high-quality programs with parents co-watching to ensure the kids understand what they’re seeing and are able to apply what they’ve gained from the shows to the world around them.
Gadgets do have some educational and entertainment value. But parents need to teach their children to use them responsibly. Click here for tips to manage screen time and how to make family time a priority.