Creative play still best for young children

Cary Bazalgette’s criticism (Letters, 29 December) of our recent letter (Screen-based lifestyle harms children’s health, 26 December) ignores the crucial distinction between content and process. If the process of screen exposure is harmful, any further discussion about content becomes superfluous. What conceivable rationale is there for engaging very young children with ICT screen technologies when it will inappropriately accelerate early child development, distort the natural development of the young child’s delicate growing senses and displace equivalent learning achievable through real, embodied human interaction?

We’ve no idea what the long-term neurological, social and emotional impacts will be of exposing children to ubiquitous screen technologies; and until we do, a responsible precautionary principle is urgently called for, with any guidelines being evidence-based and grounded in reputable research. But focusing on screen-time narrows down the debate about modern lifestyles. Certainly, whatever the modern malady might be, free creative play is almost certainly the best-known antidote.