5 reasons why we should ban little kids from electronics

I’m always amazed at how comfortable young children are around handheld devices. I’ve watched a little girl under the age of two navigate her grandma’s iPhone, find her favorite alphabet app and proceed to sing the ABC’s. These days, toddlers can turn on their tablets, scroll through Netflix and watch their favorite movie before we’ve even had our first cup of coffee in the morning. Kids are well-versed in technology and they are so comfortable with the platform that it’s like second nature to them. Cell phones, tablets, laptops and iPods seem like just another toy.

But still, we have to wonder–is all this technology good for them?

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t think so. Their timeline for exposing young children to technology reads something like this:

  • 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology
  • 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day
  • 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day


As a mom of six kids within the age range of 6-18 years, I can sheepishly admit that some days my kids get way more than two hours on a handheld device. If you combine gaming, social media, reading books on their tablet, making videos, completing homework assignments, answering emails from teachers and chatting with friends, my kids are on their way to digital dementia.

Which is a thing, you know.

A pediatric occupational therapist for Huff Po Parents coined these ten reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12. I’ll share the top five that really caught my attention from Zone’in:

Rapid brain growth and nature

Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Kids need to experience the outdoors–they need to spend time in “green” spaces or their brains aren’t going to grow the way they should.

Delayed development

Using technology restricts our movement. Movement and play are essential not only for child development and learning, but for survival. Not moving can lead to delayed development.


Violence is a learned behavior. Children who are exposed to violent content may act out aggressively, physically, and sexually toward their peers. Are we training our kids to kill?

Mental health

Connection to technology is actually disconnecting children from self, others, nature, and spirit. The result? Addictions to Facebook, video games, pornography to name a few.

Digital Dementia

Children who overuse technology are experiencing a variety of problems: memory loss, distraction, obesity, anxiety, loneliness, child depression and the inability to concentrate.

This is really sobering news. Still, I have no idea how I can curb my children’s habits. Not when I am just as obsessed with my phone/laptop/iPad as they are. Unfortunately, it feels like the blind leading the blind over here.

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8 thoughts on “5 reasons why we should ban little kids from electronics”

  1. I think the numbers here are way to conservative. My daughter is two and a half and the only thing she is going to need to learn in kindergarten is how to write her letters and numbers, she already recognizes them and knows what sounds they make, she knows 1-20, she used three and four syllable words. She memorizess songs that she likes. She plays pretend, she acts, she dances, she runs and jumps, and she’s just mastered potty training in time for me to have a breather before her brother arrives. Should we be concerned about our kids spending too much time in front of screens, yes. But We should be more proactive than to say the tech is to blame. If your kid seems to be sluggish turn the TV off and make them move. Always keep an eye on them while they’re using tech, make sure they’re where you want them to be. Don’t leave your kid to be babysat by technology, when used with your kid it’s a great tool.

  2. Loved this blog post! The AAP guidelines are based in science, and I trust their recommendations. I do try to adhere to their recommendations, but it is hard at times, with technology being all around us. I think it’s best, as with everything, to find a balance. Screen time is ok, as long as kids have time playing with toys, running around outside and interacting with others in person, not just on a computer or IPad screen.

  3. We do a little TV on Saturday mornings (usually about 45min) with our 18 month old while I quickly clean house. Other than that we do keep it away. When she gets a little older some limited iPad use maybe, but again for a little bit at a time on the weekends. We’ve been around others who have voluntarily given her their iPad during a family function, etc and we have just allowed it to happen as to not cause a huge discussion with family. And she refuses to interact with others, her mood and temperament becomes more aggressive after, and she becomes generally disinterested in everything else. Maybe as she gets older we will allow certain games for very limited time, but it is proven that children get more out of their surroundings than they do swiping at a screen, so it is going to be a ‘get your butt outside and play’ type house for us.

  4. I think it is very hard if parents/caregivers use technology devices at home around kids, for the kids to avoid it. They are just following and learning. It may require the adults to get rid of some devices, or have the discipline to only watch TV/surf the internet/connect on social media when kids are in bed or at school or outside. Overall I agree with and follow the AAP’s recommendations.

  5. My daughter has a Leap Pad. I thought I would have to set a time limit for its use, but so far, that hasn’t been an issue. She plays with it. She voluntarily shares it with her brother–they have yet to fight over it, and yes, they do fight over other toys. However, she doesn’t seem to have the desire to play with it for long periods of time. I do have other rules regarding it, but those rules really aren’t that different from the rules I have for other toys.

  6. “Violence is a learned behavior. Children who are exposed to violent content may act out aggressively, physically, and sexually toward their peers. Are we training our kids to kill?”

    This is the point when I stopped taking you seriously. Yes, of course, exposure to violent media turns children into VIOLENT PSYCHOPATHIC MURDERERS which is why rates of youth violence have been steadily declining over the last 20 years.

    To be on the safe side, keep your kids away from books as well. There are all kinds of dangerous ideas in books.

    Really, is it so hard to just say, “Make sure your children are only consuming age-appropriate media”?

  7. You know that there have been studies showing that video games help kids learn to focus, notice things in their periphery, and make decisions?

    As for mental health: I know for a fact that I would be a helluva lot more depressed if it weren’t for the ability to keep up with my friends (US, mostly, but also Japan and Great Britain and the Netherlands) and family (Taiwan, US, Netherlands) on Facebook. It’s not the media itself that makes people ill, it’s the people you’re friends with.

    As for aggression: how you go about disciplining your kid when he acts violently and teaching him to deal with frustration will affect him more than a couple viewings of Star Wars. Promise.

    Look, I’m all for knowing your kid and limiting their media usage to what they can handle. And maybe it’s just me, but electronics aren’t going anywhere. It’s up to parents to a) model appropriate behavior and b) teach it to their kids. I’ll grant you that this isn’t nearly as sexy a message as “ban iPods” but it’s probably the correct one.

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