“Face-to-face interaction is crucial for infants’ social development.”
Srinagar, August 31st: The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir (DAK) warned Thursday that letting infants play with cell phones might stunt their growth.
“The more time babies spend on smartphones, the greater the risk of developmental delay,” stated DAK President Dr. Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr. Hassan has found that one way parents relax their children is by giving them a phone. It frees up the parents’ time to focus on other activities, such as meal preparation, housework, and laundry.
“Letting your baby play with a phone may seem like a simple way to keep them occupied, but it could affect their development,” he said.
Babies who spent more time on phones at age one were more likely to have delays in speaking and problem-solving abilities, according to a recent research published on August 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Paediatrics, said Dr. Hassan.
Babies who spent 4 or more hours in front of screens were found to be 4.78 times more likely to have underdeveloped communication skills, 1.74 times more likely to have subpar fine motor skills, and two times more likely to have underdeveloped personal and social skills by age two, according to the study’s author.
By the age of four, the only areas of potential danger were those of communication and problem-solving.
The president of the DAK said that children learn to speak through interacting with others, particularly their parents, and that screen time deprives them of this chance.
For healthy social development, infants need regular face-to-face contact. When we focus on other people’s faces, our brains light up with ideas about how to communicate with them, he said.
“Screens disrupt interactions and limit opportunities for kids to practise interactive problem-solving skills,” he said.
“Parents should spend time with their kids and delay introducing phones to infants and young children,” Dr. Nisar said.
Children under the age of two should not be exposed to screens at all, and children ages 2 to 5 should have no more than one hour of screen time each day, as recommended by the World Health Organisation and the American Academy of Paediatrics, he added.