Watching TV with your child is not necessarily bad!

This is a study that should make many young parents feel guilty! While television is often presented as the number one enemy of toddlers and good development, even if it means being totally demonized, Dr. Eszter Somogyi from the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth decided to look into the real impact of screens on young children. And its results go rather against the tide of the usual thoughts.

Television, an educational tool?

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Paris Nanterre decided to compile several hundred studies on the impact of the passive use of screens on the cognitive development of a young child. And their analysis is without appeal: “We are used to hearing that exposure to screens is bad for a child and can seriously harm their development if it is not limited to less than an hour a day. Although it can be harmful, our study suggests that the focus should be on the quality of what a child is watching and the context rather than the quantity..”

According to Dr. Eszter Somogyi, the ideal would be not to let your child watch TV when he wants, but to choose educational programs, and above all: that his parents watch them with him. “Weak narration, rapid editing, and complex stimuli can make it difficult for a child to extract or generalize information. But when screen content is age-appropriate, it’s likely to have a positive effect, especially when designed to encourage interaction.“, she specifies.

Watch TV, yes, but in moderation

The objective is to allow the child to ask questions while watching the program, to encourage him to comment on what he sees, what he understands. Interactions that stimulate their interest, but also their understanding to reinforce learning, all while having a fun and educational time with the family.

The study affirms it: television should not be demonized, but its use must nevertheless remain parsimonious. As a reminder, the prolonged use of screens by children aged 2-3 years is associated with an increased risk of sleep disorders, behavior and early learning. So bet on quality programs and specific times, and don’t forget to offer your child activities that don’t need screens to stimulate them in other ways.

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