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Rewarding Children with Using the Smartphone or Watching TV is a Bad Idea, According to Science

Children whose screen time is controlled as a reward or punishment spend more time in front of their electronic devices than children who are not disciplined in that way.

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Children whose screen time is controlled as a reward or punishment spend more time in front of their electronic devices than children who are not disciplined in that way.

In these modern times, with overexposure to digital entertainment channels, the ways of having fun that young people have changed remarkably. If once the youngest of the house were fighting over the soccer ball and even a mere cardboard box with which to give free rein to the imagination, now the goal of their desires have the shape of smartphones, televisions, tablets and computers.

That is why many parents have moved the classic conditioning schemes (rewarding children for good behavior, such as doing homework or behaving well in a certain place) to the digital arena, allowing the little ones to play with their mobile or the iPad as a daily reward. And yet, it seems that it is not a good idea.

According to a study by the University of Guelph in Canada, children whose screen time is controlled as a reward or punishment spend more time in front of their electronic devices than children who are not disciplined in that way. Researcher Jess Haines explains it this way: “It’s similar to how we should not use sugary treats as rewards because by doing so we can increase the attraction to them. When you give food as a reward, children like carrot and cake less. The same with the time on screen “.

The study, published in the journal BMC Obesity, investigated the impact of educational practices on the amount of time young children spend in front of screens. The study involved 62 children between 18 months and five years of age and 68 parents. As part of the work, parents were asked questions such as how to monitor their children’s screen time, when children are allowed to spend time in front of the screen, and if parents spend time in front of a screen when they are nearby. of their children.

The results show that, on average, children spend almost an hour and a half in front of a screen during weekdays and a little more than two hours a day on weekends. But as parents spend an average of two hours a day in front of a screen during the week and a little more than two and a half hours a day on weekends, it seems that the children are learning from our example.

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