Watching television with a young child may help rather than harm their development, a study says.
It found age-appropriate shows strengthen learning and improve conversational skills.
Portsmouth University researchers said that while too much screen time can impair play and language development, the focus should be on the quality of children’s viewing rather than quantity.
dr. Eszter Somogyi, of the university, said: “A weak story, fast editing and complex stimuli can make it difficult for a child to extract or generalize information.
“But look television with your child and by elaborating and commenting on what is being viewed, it can increase their understanding of the content and enhance their learning during educational programs.
The study, published in Frontiers In Psychology, looked at 478 studies from the past two decades.
dr. Bahia Guellai, from co-researchers Paris Nanterre University, said: “The important take-home message here is that healthcare providers should keep new technologies in mind.
“Television or smartphones should be used as potential tools to complement, but not to replace, some social interactions with their young children.
“I think the main challenge our societies face for future generations is to make adults and young people aware of the risk of ill-considered or inappropriate screen use.
“This will help prevent screens from being used as the new form of shelter, such as that during the pandemic lockdowns in different countries.
“I am optimistic about the idea of balancing the rapid spread of new technological tools and preserving the beautiful nature of human relationships.”