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Experts worry tablets hurt basic reading skills

Posted at 8:11 AM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 09:40:26-04

We've heard it before, you're not supposed to stick your kids in front of a TV or digital device.

But do you really know why?

During summer, or especially after school when kids are tired, it can be easy for parents to rely on technology to keep kids busy and entertained.

But how much is too much?

Doctor Sarah Adams has been a pediatrician for decades.

"I see newborns all the way through 21years of age," Adams says.

When those patients need it, she recommends medication, gives vaccines and checks up on their overall health.

But no matter what, there's one thing she always prescribes: a book.

"Reading. There's a lot of advantage, not just in language but in other areas of development," Adams says.

95 percent of the brain is developed by 5-years-old and reading is one of the most important things to do to help it grow.

"As soon as I walk in the door, I can see the interaction between the parents, how the child is interested in the book, how they handle it and it also gives me an idea of what their development is like" Adams says.

But it's tempting for parents to rely on screens to help entertain their kids.

Experts say that could be dangerous to a child's development.

Pediatrician, Dr. Keven Dahlman says, "There's a lot that we're learning about the child's developing brain."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for anyone under 18 months.

And experts say handing a young child a device and letting them play for hours, is not a good idea.

"If you have the tv on in the background that's not what's causing problems, we want to avoid that sitting your 12-month-old down in front of an iPad, an iPhone or the tv," Dahlman says.

You should limit kids aged 2 to 4 to an hour of screen time a day.

Dahlman says, "Of course you don't have to make that hour less is better, but of course we understand the society that we live in."

No more than 2 hours a day is suggested for kids 4 and older.

"We're learning about the developing brain at this age is that kids don't understand that that screens not talking back to you it's real in their minds," Dahlman says.

Bottom line, too much screen time can cause little ones to be anti-social.

It's up to parents to set an example.

Dahlman says, "We want to make sure that we're interacting that we have some times, protected times without technology there."

Going more in-depth on this topic, we asked experts about those popular e-readers.

Yes, they can hold educational material but on the other hand, it's still a digital screen that kids are staring at.

Well it turns out, studies show there is a slight drop in comprehension in reading from a screen compared to paper.

But when it comes to kids absorbing what they read, literacy professors, like Sophie Ladd, say the important thing isn't how the child is reading, but rather how the book was selected.

"We have to introduce kids to literature that is going to interest them," Ladd says.

So whether it's an e-book, or a good old-fashioned paperback, when it comes to how much time your child should spend reading, eperts say a little bit, goes a long way.

Ladd says, "Fifteen minutes a day has shown significant increase in students' ability to continue to read. If they go to 30 minutes, then we actually see the academic improvement has significant impact."

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