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Why Picture Books Are Better Than Screens

Why Picture Books Are Better Than Screens

Jun 21, 2018

A recent study published by leading pediatricians has found picture books can stimulate and entertain your child – and are far superior to the overuse of electronic screens.

Remember the 20th century parent’s frequent lament that “TV is rotting your brain”?

According to a recent study presented to the Pediatric Academic Societies this year, that may not be far off from the truth – particularly when young children spend too much time in front of electronic screens.

Instead of screens, pediatricians say, kids should stick to picture books.

Unlike electronic screens, picture books have a “Goldilocks effect” on stimulating children – not too much or too little, says Dr. John Hutton, one of the study’s authors. The study has found that fast-moving media is “too hot” for young learners and processing audio “too cold,” while illustrations are “just right” for engaging children while also encouraging reflection and an active imagination. An added bonus is that picture books help to build comprehension and story-telling skills, too.

And when it comes to managing screen time and the digital life for youngsters, the American Association of Pediatricians recommends as follows:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid using any screens other than video-chatting.
  • For 18 to 24 months of age, parents can introduce high-quality digital programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • For 2 to 5 years of age, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs.
  • For ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using digital media and the types of media. Ensure that media use does not replace adequate sleep, physical activity and other healthy behaviors.

The AAP also recommends that parents designate “media-free” times together, such as at dinner or while driving, as well as places within the home, such as bedrooms. Parents should also continue to communicate about online behavior and safety, including how we treat others on and off the screen.

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