Generic image of a child looking at a tablet or iPad. Photo from iStock.
Generic image of a child looking at a tablet or iPad. Photo from iStock.

How much is too much screen time

THE number of digital pacifiers across Queensland is extraordinary and children will suffer, says one of the nation's top child experts.

An increasing number of techno tots are able to swipe before they can walk and it is not good for them, children's brains like three dimensional learning, psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg told The Courier-Mail.

The expert says that parents should follow the lead of Shelley Naughton, who is sticking rigidly to Australian screen guidelines.

Her one-year-old twins are screen free and will remain that way until they turn two - they have never played with an ipad or watched a cartoon on the television.

When they turn two mum will consider bringing in the one hour a day recommended limit

"I bet this sensible, rational parent will be harshly judged for her decision but she is smart," Dr Carr-Gregg said.

"The guidelines are there for a reason and backed by research.

"Children need to make bonds with other children and adults to build language and relationships."

 

Shelley Naughton sticks to screen time guidelines with her one-year-old twins Imogen and Sophie. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Shelley Naughton sticks to screen time guidelines with her one-year-old twins Imogen and Sophie. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

The Australian guidelines are based on evidence that long periods of screen time can lead to slower development of language and weight gain.

The Naughton twins were born premature and are exceeding all developmental milestones.

"This is something that is important to me," Ms Naughton said.

"I love that the girls play on their slide and look at books and entertain themselves in all kinds of creative ways.

"I don't believe they are missing out on anything by not watching television."

Research has also found that babies' sleep and brain development may be being harmed by use of iPads and touchscreen devices.

Many Queensland children exceed the screen limits. The guidelines suggest one hour for kids aged two to five, increasing to two hours for five to 12-year-olds.

"It is tempting to let an iPad play babysitter, but it worth the effort for parents to steer clear of this," Dr Carr-Gregg said.

Toddlers should be getting three hours of physical play every day.



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