A recent study showed that children 3 to 5 years old who use screens for more than an hour a day had lower levels of brain white matter development, which is instrumental to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills, particularly during these formative years.

Screen time has also been shown to have the following detrimental effects:

  • Developmental delay: Excessive screen time is associated with language delay, impaired executive function, lower capacity to use expressive language. Elementary school-age children who have televisions in their bedrooms do worse on academic testing.
  • Behavioural problems: Elementary school-age children who watch TV or use a computer more than two hours per day are more likely to have emotional, social, and attention problems
  • Undermines relationships: Screen time reduces parent-child engagement and can impact self-esteem; one-third of children reported feeling unimportant when their parents looked at their smartphones during meals or when playing together
  • Mental health issues: a study showed a 27% higher risk of depression in eighth-graders if they frequently use social media
  • Unhealthy habits: Excessive TV linked to inability of children to pay attention and think clearly, and higher incidence of poor dietary habits. Too much time engaging in sedentary activity can lead to obesity and blue light from screens can interfere with the sleep cycle
  • Violence: Exposure to TV shows, movies, music, and video games can cause children to become desensitised, and potentially lead them to using violence and aggression to solve problems.

Even tech titans Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t allow smart phones for their kids and limited screen time during their childhood. Current World Health Organisation recommends a daily maximum of an hour of screen time.

Instead, it’s worthwhile considering the activities that help children’s development: reading, singing, connecting emotionally, being creative, taking a walk, laughing or spending family time together.


  • https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/04/health/screen-time-lower-brain-development-preschoolers-wellness/index.html
  • https://www.businessinsider.com.au/screen-time-limits-bill-gates-steve-jobs-red-flag-2017-10?r=US&IR=T
  • https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-negative-effects-of-too-much-screen-time-1094877