Why screen time inhibits toddler development

Posted on: 02/14/19 10:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Where’s Nathan?

I just changed his diaper and plopped him in front of the TV… again.

Any theories why Nathan doesn’t walk yet?

It’s probably not a surprise to you to hear that if we plop our toddlers down in front of a screen it hurts their development. We’ve heard the arguments before. Too much screen time has negative effects all around. And some experts even push back and try to contest it.

But according to a new study from the University of Calgary, the results are pretty clear about the effects of screen time on young kids.

“Greater screen time at 24 months was associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months, and similarly, greater screen time at 36 months was associated with lower scores on developmental screening tests at 60 months.”

The element I find intriguing is why.


“A lot of the positive stimulation that helps kids with their physical and cognitive development comes from interactions with caregivers.”

There it is once again—the indisputable fact. Kids need face-to-face interactions with Mom and Dad.

This wasn’t the only reason why. Experts also noticed that inactive kids tended to not develop motor skills or hand-eye coordination (more reasons to discourage too much screen time). But the big reason kids were missing key developmental skills was because they missed out on crucial interaction with parents.

Do we really need an expert to tell us that our kids need our love and attention?

It’s the one element that everyone always seems to agree on, regardless of the study. Experts argue about the effects of entertainment media until they’re blue in the face (although I’ve never actually seen someone turn blue when arguing about entertainment media), but they’ll always all agree on this one conclusion. Interaction with Mom and Dad is crucial.

Maybe your kids aren’t toddlers anymore. Maybe they’re tweens or teens. Then quantity time matters even more.

Have you connected with your kids face to face this week?

The “Relationships” Talk

Posted on: 02/5/19 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Next week is Valentine’s Day, and that means young people are thinking of relationships, which is a happy thought for some… and a depressing thought for others. This is probably why so many youth ministries do their “sex and dating” teaching series this time of year or at least a talk on relationships.

So here’s a few resources to help you with these conversations:

  1. One of our writers wrote two brand new FREE Music Discussions using Ariana Grande’s song “Thank U Next.” The youth ministry discussion uses scripture and provides small group questions.
  2. The parents’ discussion also uses scripture and provides three questions you can ask your kids in the car, also free.
  3. And for those in youth ministry who want a talk with graphics and everything, I wrote a 25-minute talk, and Download Youth Ministryadded graphics, slides and small group questions HERE.
  4. You’ll find even more talks from me on this subject in the past… like my talk, “What do you mean Flee?
  5. And this year I was one of four author/contributors to a book titled, 4 Views on talking to Teenagers about Sex: Pragmatic Help for Teaching Sexuality. (I was one of the conservative voices).
  6. And of course there is my quick read I wrote to students called SEX MATTERS, sharing the explicit Biblical truth about sex.
  7. And this year my second Guy’s Guide book comes out addressing the four biggest “distractions” young men face, and one of those distractions is sexual temptation. That book will release in May.

All these are helpful resources engaging our kids in conversations about truth on the subject. Keep up the good work! In a world so full of explicit lies, young people need someone who isn’t scared to share the explicit truth.