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February 24, 2024

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New Study Links Baby’s Screen Time with Delays

Keep the phone away from Baby as long as possible is the point!

It’s no real surprise that Baby’s screen time can yield delays. According to a study published recently by The Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 1-year-olds exposed to more than four hours of screen time a day can experience developmental delays in communication by age 2.  The research reveals that 1-year-olds who have more screen time than their peers show delays at age 2 in fine motor and personal and social skills. For example, babies who get up to two hours a day of screen time by age 1 are 61 percent more likely to have delayed development of communication by age 2 than those babies who logged less time.
    It’s true that babies are mesmerized by screens and that it’s very difficult for parents to limit screen time today. Children’s health experts take a less-is-better stance on screen time for children, encouraging personal face-to-face interactions and physical activity, instead.

Baby’s Screen Time

“Research shows that screen time inhibits young children’s ability to read faces and learn social skills, two key factors needed for developing empathy,” says Carlota Nelson, writer and director of the documentary Brain Matters. “Face-to-face interactions are the only way for babies to understand non-verbal cues and interpret them; exposure to screens reduces babies’ ability to read human emotion and to control their frustration,” she adds.
    It’s not hard to see how screens can blunt the process of development. So for parents, the goal is to lessen screen time for children, not increase it, since it can cause developmental delays when they are so important.

Read More About Babies in the 2024 Baby Guide

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.