In previous generations, children were urged from the time they were toddlers to go outside and play with their friends by their parents. During times of inclement weather, children were pretty much expected to read or play with their toys if they became very bored.
The rise of technological inventions like smartphones, iPads, etc. has changed how folks parent and it’s very common to see babies poking around a device or being entranced by an app.
Of course, some parents go overboard with it thinking that it’s perfectly fine for their kids, but below are a list of reasons why too much screen time can be detrimental to your toddler’s development and might even wind up causing issues in the future.
20 Toddlers Really Dislike Going Outside To Play
Before technology grew in leaps and bounds, children were expected to play outside at the park or in the backyard—even as toddlers.
PBS writes that with the rise of parents giving toddlers unlimited screen time, their children are spending too much time indoors instead of exploring the environment around them.
19 Your Little One Has A Speech Delay
Another downside of letting a toddler have a free-for-all when it comes to giving access to devices is that many of them wind up having issues talking.
PBS notes that one study showed that there is some evidence that shows too much screen time can cause speech delays by the time they’re 18 months.
18 They Have A Hard Time Putting Words Together
As previously noted in the entry above, PBS warns parents that too much screen time can lead to speech delays, specifically when it came to trying to put words and sounds together.
This can lead to plenty of difficulties in Pre-K and/or kindergarten plus lots of headaches at home when trying to communicate.
17 Toddler Has A Tendency To Lash Out
PBS warns that another downside of having a speech delay (and one that can pop up if your little one plays with a device all day every day) is that they don’t learn to communicate properly.
Not being able to express themselves is irritating for a toddler and causes them to lash out.
16 Your Child Becomes Easily Frustrated When They Can't Communicate
Let’s face it, humans rely on good communication skills in order to express themselves and that’s one of the major developmental hurdles toddlers have to cross.
According to PBS, speech delays associated with screen time means that your little one is going to be easily frustrated when they can’t express their feelings.
15 Toddler Relies More On Body Language To Express Their Emotions
PBS adds that another downside of using a device to keep toddlers happy and quiet all day can lead to you trying to read their body language to figure out what they want to say.
Toddlers that can’t communicate as well as their peers will rely on body language to express feelings since they don’t have the words to explain themselves.
14 Studies Show That Too Much Screen Time Can Hurt Their Grades In The Future
According to PBS, letting your child watch Baby Shark on repeat all day online can negatively impact their schooling.
There’s plenty of evidence that shows that early language delays often leads to kids growing up and having a ton of issues by the time they are set to enter high school.
13 Some High School Students That Were Allowed A Lot Of Screen Time As Toddlers Don't Graduate
PBS adds that early language delays are something to take seriously, especially if you want your kiddo to eventually go to a good college.
While some kids struggle in academics due to a delay as a toddler, others wind up becoming very disheartened and dropping out of high school altogether.
12 They Have A Harder Time Stacking Toy Blocks
According to CNN, one developmental milestone that is important for toddlers to hit is having good hand-eye coordination.
Staring at a screen all day long can lead to difficulties stacking toy blocks on top of one another since the toddler don’t play with them as much as their peers do.
11 Toddler Can't Sleep
Let’s face it, adults are tied to their smartphones and often have a hard time sleeping because they can’t put their device down.
CNN writes that this is a huge problem for toddlers with excess screen time and at that age, they need at least eight hours of sleep or more.
10 Your Child Isn't As Active As Other Kids The Same Age
CNN notes that toddlers that become glued to the screens of devices wind up not being as active as they should be and wind up preferring staying inside instead of going to the park with their parents.
Ideally, toddlers should only have one hour of screen time with quality programming.
9 They Lack An Imagination
Another pitfall of too much technology, says The Independent, is that toddlers don’t rely on their imagination as much as they used to.
This can manifest as constantly complain of being bored while playing outside or not even going through the usual “imaginary friend” stage many children have at this age.
8 Too Much Screen Time Hurts Baby's Eyes
Psychology Today writes that using smartphones and the like over the pediatrician-recommended amount of time can also seriously damage your little one’s eyes.
Both the lack of sunlight and the light reflecting from the monitor can seriously mess with a baby’s still-developing eyes and possibly cause issues in the future.
7 Your Child Can't Focus Properly
According to Psychology Today, another issue that pops up with too much screen time is that toddlers don’t learn how to focus their eyes properly because they’re staring at a screen all day.
They really need to have plenty of interesting three dimensional stimuli to look out in order to learn how to focus.
6 They Struggle To Mimic Parents In Games
Too much time on apps can lead to children being unable to mimic their parents properly, says Psychology Today.
It’s very important that parents play mimicking games with their toddlers so they can learn how to do things like using a fork and because mimicking helps them master the basics of language.
5 Toddlers Lack The Skills They Need To Observe The World
Psychology Today points out that being obsessed with screens often leads to toddlers being unable to observe the world around them as keenly as their limited screen peers.
The reason why this happens is because watching a screen is a passive movement and it doesn’t provide any interesting sensory experiences.
4 They Demand Entertainment All Day And All Night
Scary Mommy notes that when parents use devices as a way to keep toddlers occupied, they’re inadvertently teaching them to expect to be entertained all day, every day.
This leads to toddlers not knowing how to be bored and making up their own games to keep themselves occupied throughout the day.
3 Your Child Won't Be As Adventurous
Unlike playtime, Scary Mommy writes that screens don’t allow toddlers to test boundaries in a safe way and explore the world around them.
Kids at this age need varied sensory experiences, especially outside, and chances to test their physical limits in order to hit all of those important developmental milestones.
2 Toddlers Can Become Obsessed With Their Devices
Scary Mommy also warns parents that screens are addictive, especially for young children and it is very important to set proper boundaries in order to prevent this.
This means your child will do nothing but stare at a screen all day long and they won’t develop much needed life skills.
1 Their First Word Is Likely To Be The Name Of A Device
Traditionally, a child’s first words tend to be “mama” or “dada,” since they hear those words a lot from their parents since day one.
The Guardian warns that there’s been at least one incident that a child allowed too much screen time’s first words were the name of a favorite device.
Sources: PBS, CNN, The Independent, Psychology Today, Scary Mommy