But aside from setting screen time limits, Dr. Yousuf said parents need to focus on face-to-face interactions with their children.
“Younger children don’t relate to what they see on a screen like they do in real life. The subliminal messages we send during in-person conversations don’t display the same way on a screen,” she said. “When you play with a young child, you teach him how to interact with his environment. Studies show that the more interactive you can be with they, the better off they will be because they use more senses, such as listening, touching and smelling.
How to help your children sleep better
OK, so maybe your child is showing signs of needing a a little more sleepy. Perhaps it’s that your child is in the midst of a sleep regression, your child doesn’t want to stay in bed, or your older child is struggling to stay awake in class.
Over-the-counter sleep aids might just be a bandage on the problem and not address the root of the problems.Before you take melatonin or other sleep aids, Dr. Shah offers these five tips:
Smartphone versus cell phone
For many parents, the trigger for needing a phone is often the age when children start walking to and from school on their own. With most UK schools allowing children to self-exit Key Stage 2 (ages 7-8), it’s still awfully young for a full-on smartphone with unbridled internet access.
While the need for a phone is purely for security and emergency situations, you don’t necessarily need a smartphone to fill this need. Basic cell phones may not have the street reputation your child demands, but they’re often more functional as emergency contact devices than a smartphone could ever hope to be.
Smartphones and PSA pornography
Now for a short break and public service announcement. I’m going to be cheeky here and call it what it is.
Pornography is more accessible than ever and can ruin your child’s life. Early exposure thus often leads to a lifelong addiction. 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to pornography in adolescence 8.
What is the best age to give a child a smartphone?
Age really isn’t the best way to decide the best time to give your child a smartphone. Consider all of the bullet points above, then weigh these considerations against how well you think your child can handle each consideration point. It’s really a judgement.
While many children start using smartphones in middle school (about half of 10-12 year olds), a large group of parents choose to wait until later. Many parents actually prefer to wait until their child is a teenager to give away his first smartphone.