Sebastian P. Suggate and Philipp Martzog of the University of Regensburg have examined and been able to demonstrate that screen‐time negatively influences children’s capacity to use imagination. The results were published in April 2020 in Developmental Science, the leading journal in the field of Developmental Psychology / Pedagogical Psychology . and reported by the Eliant Group.
“It has become clear – explains Michaela Glöckler of the Eliant Group – to what extent the development of a healthy capacity for imagination in children depends on the sensorimotor activity in learning processes. In the experiment, 266 children aged between three and nine years were examined ten months later. The “mental imagery”, that is the capacity for mental imagination, was significantly more or less limited depending on the time spent in front of the screen. The researchers found that the capacity for imagination, as the center of thinking potential, rests on two pillars: on the one hand on the active creation of images, on the other on the fullness of sensorimotor experiences ».
“Since screen media take children away from the active creation of images, and provide pre-packaged images, the ability to create their own imaginations is repressed – adds Glöckler – Furthermore, sitting in front of the screen, sensorimotor activities are practically not taken into account. Therefore it has been possible to establish with a high degree of significance that the longer a child is exposed to a screen, the more severely limited is the capacity for mental imagination”.
«Given that the pandemic from Covid 19 has drastically increased the duration of exposure to screens (not only during the time spent at home, but also in school activities) an urgent need arises to reflect on what children really need, particularly during the first nine years of life, in which sensorimotor development and associated brain maturation are absolutely in the foreground ».
The Eliant group has launched a petition (which can be signed here) to maintain freedom of choice in Europe. Those responsible in kindergartens and elementary schools, according to Eliant, should be able to «consciously decide for a committed analogue approach to teaching, in order to avoid endangering healthy brain development in children, who for the most part are already subject to excessive home exposure to screens ».