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Copyright © 2017 by J Horsfield @ Hearts Minds Media
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True Crisis in Our Time - M. Muggeridge : True Crisis in Our Time
Kids and Technology - Nature vs Nurture?
How to keep screen time in check for kids’ health and development
Bottom of Form
Edited by Hearts & Minds Media 2017
It seems these days that kids are operating electronic devices such as smartphones practically moments after being born. Just take a look around any local playgroup or playground: You’ll be likely to see kids as young as 2 or even younger clutching mom or dad’s phone to play games or view videos. When it comes to technology, kids are not only starting to use it at a younger age but are using it in more varied situations, both at home and at school.
Today, technology for kids is a source of learning and entertainment, and in a pinch when parents have to get dinner made or take a few minutes to answer emails, a terrific babysitter.
For school-age kids, technology can be a double-edged sword. There are countless benefits that can be garnered from using technology: Computers can be used to do research, play online math games, and improve language skills. Television (and DVDs) can offer educational programming such as documentaries and other educational materials. And even video games can encourage developmental skills such as hand-eye coordination (and some motion-controlled active games on the Wii or Xbox with Kinect can promote physical activity such as dancing). But all these electronic devices can also have some distinct disadvantages as well. Here are some reasons why technology should be limited for kids and how to do it.
Reasons for Limiting Kids’ Exposure to Technology
It may interfere with sleep.
Getting enough sleep
can be challenging enough for busy kids today who often have homework and after-school activities crammed into their weekdays and
and sports on weekends. Add to that numerous hours of TV watching — which averages up to as much as 3 to 4 hours a day, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — and you have a recipe for sleep deprivation in kids. Moreover, electronic stimulation, such as from
or using the computer, has been shown to interfere with sleep (both falling asleep and staying asleep).
It may cut into family time/person-to-person interaction.
When we are using technology such as computers, games, and TV, we are not interacting together. And given how difficult it can be for families to find some good quality time to spend with each other, having technology cut into those moments is something parents may want to prevent as much as possible. While it can be fun to have
a family movie night
or play a video game together, the fact is that screen time means less face-to-face interaction time.
It may encourage short attention span.
Studies have shown that too much screen time may be associated with attention problems.
It may interfere with schoolwork.
Children who watch a lot of TV are more likely to have lower grades and read fewer books. And research has shown that
cutting down kids’ screen time may improve kids’ health and grades
It may lead to less physical activity.
More screen time has been associated with reduced
and higher risk of obesity in kids.
It may expose kids to too much advertising and inappropriate content.
Many television shows and commercials depict sexuality and violence as well as stereotypes and drug and alcohol use. Many commercials also promote
and toys in powerful and alluring ways that are designed to get kids to want these items.
How to Limit Technology
It can be all too easy to simply turn on the TV or let them play a video game when your kids say they are bored. But there are many options when it comes to finding alternative forms of entertainment. Letting kids use technology with limits can be achievable if you keep some of these key tips in mind.
Do not put a TV in your child’s room.
Having a TV in the bedroom has been linked to a number of problems including lower test scores,
, and obesity.
Turn it off.
When the kids are not watching a specific program, turn off the television. Keep it off during mealtimes and especially when they are studying or doing homework.
Help your child choose a video game or a show.
The best way to know what your child is watching or playing is by helping her pick out a show or a game. When picking out a
new family movie
or game, read the reviews or previews ask other parents, and above all, know your child and trust your own instincts.
Limit her screen time.
Whether it’s one hour of TV and video games a day or a couple of hours a week, limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV or playing video games and stick to that number.
Opt for alternatives to technology activities.
Find great ways to spend family time together without tech devices, such as by playing
Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age
In a world where children are “growing up digital,” it’s important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills.
Tips AAP to Help Families Manage the Ever Changing Digital Landscape:
Make your own family media use plan.
Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep. Make your plan at
Treat media as you would any other environment in your child’s life.
The same parenting guidelines apply in both real and virtual environments.
; kids need and expect them. Know your children’s
, both online and off. Know what platforms, software, and apps your children are using, what sites they are visiting on the web, and what they are doing online.
Set limits and encourage playtime.
Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children. And—don’t forget to
join your children in unplugged play
Families who play together, learn together.
Family participation is also great for media activities—it encourages social interactions, bonding, and learning. Play a
with your kids. It’s a good way to demonstrate good
and gaming etiquette. You will have the opportunity to introduce and share your own life experiences and perspectives—and guidance—as you play the game.
Be a good role model.
Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you’ll be more available for and connected with your children if you’re interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.
Know the value of face-to-face communication.
Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth “talk time” is critical for
. Conversations can be face-to-face or, if necessary, by video chat with a traveling parent or far-away grandparent. Research has shown that it’s that “back-and-forth conversation” that improves language skills—much more so than “passive” listening or one-way interaction with a screen.
Limit digital media for your youngest family members.
Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programing, and watch it with them so you can help them learn from what they’re seeing.
Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Create tech-free zones.
, other family and social gatherings, and children’s bedrooms screen free. Turn off televisions that you aren’t watching, because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with kids. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child’s bedroom to help children avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep, all critical for children’s wellness.
Don’t use technology as an emotional pacifier