Want More Toddler Hugs? You May Need To Hide That iPad From Them 5 years ago

Want More Toddler Hugs? You May Need To Hide That iPad From Them

The impact of screens and smart phones on our children is still quite a new phenomenon.

We have all been told they are used too often as a behavioural tool or what some people in the industry call, 'shut-up toys'

Now, researchers at the University of Sussex have found that technology is having a bigger impact on parent-child interaction than previously thought.

They carried out a study involving 24 children and their mothers who were observed interacting together as they shared storybooks and then again sharing the same stories on electronic readers.

The findings showed that during storytime with books, there was a "significant increase in the warmth of the parent/child interactions: more laughter, more smiling, more shows of affection"

In other words, screens decrease your child's ability to interact socially and emotionally.

This latest study has thrown a spotlight on how screens might affect your child's communication skills with a parent and eventually other children.

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Last year, child psychologist, Nicholas Kardaras, described screens as "digital heroin" after he admitted treating a number of kids for severe screen addiction.

None of this goes any way towards alleviating any of my mum guilt over using the tablet for a few minutes of quiet when we are on long car rides or when we find ourselves in a more formal setting than usual.

Any excessive use of screen media risks affecting your child's emotional development - I guess like everything with parenting, trying to find the right balance is key.

Rest assured there is a huge difference between allowing your child to immerse themselves in a two-dimensional world that will be detrimental to his emotional well-being, and simply getting a few minutes to jump in the shower while Junior is occupied with his Angry Birds.

At least that is what I tell myself - and those five minutes of pure, unadulterated quiet is worth the guilt!