How does having less screen time affect my baby's development?

Cutting back on screen time has many benefits for your baby’s development in terms of language, social and emotional skills and coping skills. More screen time may lower a baby’s weight and disrupt their sleep.

Language development

  • More chances to learn important social skills. Babies and children learn language best through interactions with family and friends. This includes words, body language, eye contact and social cues.

Social and emotional development

  • Better ability to understand and manage his emotions. Babies and children learn how to understand and manage their emotions from interactions with those around them.
  • Better attention span. Cutting back on screen time now can help your baby learn to pay attention to the world around them now. It can also help them pay attention in school later.
  • Better coping skills for difficult emotions or experiences. Your baby can develop coping skills for boredom, long car rides or when they feel upset through other activities that do not involve a screen.

Weight and sleep

  • Healthier weight for life. Cutting back on screen time now can help your baby stay active and keep a healthier weight as they grow up.
  • Better sleep now and in the future. The light from screens can keep your baby’s brain active and awake long after they stop using the device. Cutting back on screen time can help your baby feel sleepy sooner and sleep better at night.

Rev. 9/2018. Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.