5 Scientifically Backed Benefits of Screen Free Time for Kids

It’s remarkable how much science and technology have progressed in the last 20 years, since the advent of the internet. Yet, children’s brain’s haven’t caught up!

Childhood development remains as rooted in evolution as ever (as any Mom, Dad, or caregiver knows firsthand!). For that reason, it’s important to prioritize providing natural, screen-free settings for children’s brains to grow properly.

The importance of screen-free time is being increasingly acknowledged publicly even by tech giants; for example, Google’s advisory and an open letter from Apple’s stakeholders.

What’s the fuss about exactly?

Here are just 5 of the many scientifically supported benefits of screen-free time for kids:

  • Screen-free time helps develop social skills. Studies have shown that kids who look at faces (real ones, not emojis!) have an improved ability to read emotions and social skills. Even a brief screen break can bring benefits in this area. A UCLA study found that students who took a five day break from electronic devices showed significantly better ability to identify emotions of characters in pictures/videos than students who did not take a break.
  • Screen-free time encourages language and speech development. In 2017, the American Pediatric Academic Societies released research linking hand-held screen time (tablet, smart phone, video games) among young children with language and speech delay.
  • Screen-free time can improve sleep. We all know that a tired child is a grumpy child! Well, screens can hinder that quality shut-eye. A literature review of 67 studies on how youth screen time impacts sleep outcomes found that 90% of them revealed a significant association between screen time and sleep problems/shorter sleep.
  • Screen-free time promotes healthy eyesight. Nearsightedness among children is on the rise, and many experts think that too much screen time is to blame! [CBS]. Kids need to see real life landscapes and get healthy doses of sunshine to get those peepers performing correctly.
  • Less screen-time may improve attention span and focus. As with all the areas regarding screen-time, there is still much research to be done on the cognitive effects of it. However, a building amount of evidence is supporting a link between greater amounts of screen time and cognitive delays, including attention span issues.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many research-backed benefits of laying off the screens for a while! Luckily, Millie’s has an app and books to make it easy for your little ones to take a break from the screens and play in IRL.