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Virtual Autism: The Impact of Excessive Screen Time

baby and laptop

One of the most daunting challenges is the ever-present struggle to reduce our children’s screen time. In our pursuit of digital enlightenment, we sometimes forget to consider the detrimental impact excessive screen exposure can have on their tender minds, virtual autism, how to deal with it?

A new development has recently emerged, casting a darker shadow over this predicament. It appears that the addiction to screen-watching among kids has been linked to a potential risk of autism.

It is a worrisome thought that infants and children can become so captivated by these glowing portals that their developing brains may bear the weight of long-lasting repercussions. In some cases, the consequences can manifest in the form of characteristics resembling those found in individuals on the autism spectrum. This potential correlation between excessive screen time and the emergence of traits akin to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) raises serious concerns about the effects of our screen-dominated lifestyles on the delicate development of young minds.

What is Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) stands as a unique developmental disability, renowned for presenting a wide range of social, communication, and behavioural challenges among children. This condition affects individuals in distinct ways.

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During early childhood, a pivotal period for brain development, toddlers embark on a journey of learning and growth. Their curious minds absorb knowledge by observing others, exploring their surroundings, and engaging in the wonders of free play. It is within these formative years that parents play a vital role, dedicating ample time to their little ones to facilitate optimal development.

The significance of parental involvement during this stage cannot be overstated. The bond formed through abundant quality time fosters an environment conducive to nurturing a child’s burgeoning potential.
Recognising the significance of this pivotal stage in a child’s life, parents are encouraged to embrace the role of active participants, dedicating time, energy, and love to their babies.

Indicators of Virtual Autism

  • Heightened levels of hyperactivity
  • Difficulty in maintaining focus and attention
  • Diminished interest in non-virtual play activities
  • Delayed speech development
  • Challenges in social interaction and communication
  • Increased irritability and unpredictable mood swings
  • Decreased cognitive abilities


To prevent virtual autism –

Prioritise basic developmental need

Ensure children have opportunities to communicate, empathise, and develop crucial social skills.

Maintain face-to-face contact

Children benefit from engaging with caring individuals in real-life interactions, fostering healthy relationships and connections.

Provide sensory stimulation

Encourage a variety of sensory experiences to promote holistic development.

Limit screen time

Avoid using screens as a primary source of entertainment or education. Interact with them directly instead.

Restrict pre-schoolers’ screen time

Keep screen time to a maximum of one hour per day for preschool-aged children.

Encourage diverse activities

Promote engagement in activities beyond screens that are essential for growth and overall well-being.

Prioritise health and brain development

Minimise screen exposure in early childhood to support healthy development.

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