WATCHING telly with a young child can help rather than damage their development, a study says.
It found age-appropriate shows reinforce learning and improve conversation skills.
Portsmouth University researchers said while too much screen time can harm development of play and language, the emphasis should be on the quality of children’s viewing rather than quantity.
Dr Eszter Somogyi, of the university, said: “Weak narrative, fast-pace editing, and complex stimuli can make it difficult for a child to extract or generalise information.
“But watching television with your child and elaborating and commenting on what is viewed can help enhance their understanding of the content, reinforcing their learning during educational programmes.”
The research, published in Frontiers In Psychology, looked at 478 studies from the past two decades.
Dr Bahia Guellai, of co- researchers Paris Nanterre University, said: “The important ‘take-home message’ here is that caregivers should keep in mind new technologies.
“Television or smartphones should be used as potential tools to complement some social interactions with their young children, but not to replace (them).
“I think the most important challenge of our societies for future generations is to make adults and young people aware of the risk of an unconsidered or inappropriate use of screen use.
“This will help in preventing situations in which screens are used as the new type of child-minding, as it has been during the pandemic lockdowns in different countries.
“I am optimistic with the concept of finding an equilibrium between the rapid spread of new technological tools and the preservation of the beautiful nature of human relationships.”