December 20, 2018


Is It Okay To Allow My Baby Some Screen Time? 

Every mother tries her best to raise her children to become a reasonable member of society, yet unfortunately, this almost always means that strict rules are followed. Some of these have been passed down from generations of mothers especially those who have grown up in strict traditional homes where children are not allowed to make any choices for themselves.

One of these rules involves ensuring that the child is made to follow strict schedules throughout the day. This means that the children are only allowed to be involved in selected activities such as regular crib and bassinet napping, playing and eating. Some activities such as screen time are often considered as a big NO by mums, and here are a few reasons why:

  • It may cut into the child-parent interaction which is crucial in their development.
  • Babies may acquire and develop unbecoming behaviours as seen on the screen
  • It is said to cause attention-span problems in later years
  • It teaches less than what children who spend time playing and interacting with their parents learn.
  • It hinders their development of critical thinking skills.

From this and many other reasons, the answer to the question may seem quite obvious.

On the other hand, however, screen time has a couple of benefits for babies and children. Some mums use them to preoccupy their newborn on travel or in prams or car seat capsules. While others use them when they are out of reach like a baby monitor. Some benefits include:

  • Some digital tools (especially those that are interactive) can support family bonding and interaction. For instance, a baby may be thrilled to see his dad on the Skype screen.
  • It supports co-viewing and co-playing which are both critical aspects in the development of babies.
  • They promote school readiness; babies who are brought up listening to other kids pronounce the alphabet will most likely excel in that exercise in kindergarten.
  • It also promotes learning and development of creativity through various programs such as art and music.

With that in mind, one can deduct that screen time may be beneficial for babies even in the most basic of ways; capturing their attention as they get fed. It should, however, be moderated to avoid going overboard and leaning in towards the disadvantages.

Some ways that mothers or guardians can moderate it include:

  • Watching out for the duration. The babies should not be exposed to screens for too long otherwise they will replace the usual babysitting and interactive sessions. The period should not go beyond a few minutes every day, and should not be extended without a good reason.
  • Monitor the content strictly. Let your baby watch and listen to things that will help them learn and be creative.
  • Use interactive media. Video calls are an excellent way to start, and you will notice how the baby will beam once they see their daddy’s or big brother’s face on the screen. Also, consider balancing screen time with the use of physical educational toys
  • Take internet safety precautions. You never know when malicious people make contact with your child, especially when you are not around.

By now you probably have the answer to the question; screen time is okay only if it is limited as well as monitored. Some leading children programs and associations, however, advise against it completely. It is therefore up to you to gauge whether it will be beneficial to your baby. 


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