A new study shows touch screen devices like the iPad might have a negative impact on child development.
Australian physiotherapy professor Leon Straker of Curtin University conducted the world's first study into how touch screen devices might impact children's physical growth, according to the Herald Sun. And the results showed that kids move less when using touch screen devices instead of toys, which might lead to decreased growth.
“We are concerned that the very enticing touch screen devices will lead to children’s muscles and bones not developing well for two reasons,” Straker told the Herald Sun.
“One, they may spend more time sitting rather than running around and playing and miss the stimulus this provides to build strong muscles and bones and two, they may spend more time in a poor neck posture with little neck movement which may make them more vulnerable to neck pain.”
Straker's study looked at 10 children between the ages of 3 and 4 and found that kids who used iPads moved their upper body less than when they played with toys. But the kids also moved more than when they watched television.
“The good news is that these devices can be used in a variety of postures so may be less problematic than TV,” Straker said.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two be kept away from digital screen devices, and that older children be regulated to two hours per day, reported NPR.
“There is a well-established literature showing the adverse effects of screen experience on the cognitive development of children under three, and the U.S. Pediatric Association, for example, has recommended no screen time before this age,” said Lynne Murray, a developmental psychology expert at the University of Reading, according to the Daily Mail.