Watching television for too long and using cell phones for too long can impair children's sensory perceptions. This is the result of a study by Drexel University in the US state of Philadelphia. The risks vary depending on age and length of use.

At what age should children start using cell phones? And: How much time are they allowed to spend in front of screens such as a television? Many parents are likely to be concerned with these or similar questions. Drexel University in the US state of Philadelphia has therefore carried out a corresponding study.

Cell phones and televisions can affect children's perception

Until now, it was clear that children lack physical activity and exercise if they spend too much time in front of the television, on their cell phones or tablets. But the Philadelphia scientists encountered another risk.

According to the results of their study, young children in particular could also develop atypical sensory behavior. Specifically, this means: The ability to organize and process sensory perception can be impaired. This apparently applies to all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste.

Small children in particular are at risk

According to the study, children who spent a lot of time in front of screens before the age of two developed atypical behavior. The probability of this is higher than before the age of three. In addition, the risk increases due to increasing screen time per day.

The result: Children seek more intense sensory stimulation or are averse to intense sensations, according to the study authors. In addition, there is a slower reaction or lower sensitivity to certain stimuli. According to the researchers, such or similar behaviors can indicate disturbed sensory perceptions.

Data from the US National Children's Study (NCS) were used for the study. The researchers primarily evaluated the screen time of infants and toddlers aged twelve, 18 and 24 months.

If behavioral disorders already exist, sensory processing exercises by occupational therapists are helpful. Screen time should also be reduced.

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