– As every parent knows today, too much screen time is bad for their children. But how much screen time is too much? And how much can living in the virtual world be detrimental to a child’s development? Experts answer: “it depends,” starting with the child’s age. For Matthew Johnson, director of education at Media Smarts, a Canadian organization that promotes digital and media literacy, the greatest concern is with babies and toddlers. For very young children, “there’s no evidence that media can have any educational benefit.”

– According to Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child health at Boston Children’s Hospital, kids under two can experience far more useful activities than passive screen time. He says that interaction with other people and the physical world, as well as open-ended free play, are required for the optimal brain development of very young people. “So a blank piece of paper and a crayon is better than an iPad,” states Rich.



Image: Frankie Thevenot, 3 years old, playing with a tablet (AP/Gerald Herbert)