The Kids are Alright

20 Jun The Kids are Alright

A long-standing debate still rages about children using electronic devices and managing screen time. The term ‘screen-time’ refers to the action of children using electronic devices and staring at their screens. Most experts agree that screen time should not be allowed for any children younger than two years old because these children gain no benefit from it. In fact, they feel that children from birth to two years old actually could face developmental challenges due to exposure to technology. An article from The New York Times supported this claim with reference to guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, children under the age of two should not be exposed to screens and any screen time for children between the ages of two and four should be limited to one hour.

Some of the harmful effects of exposure to electronic devices could include obesity from prolonged periods of inactivity, decreased attention spans as a result of quickly moving images on a screen and a lack of patience due to an immediate response from electronic devices which have prevented children from experiencing having to wait for something.

That is not to say that all electronic device use is bad and should be avoided at all costs. In fact, when children are monitored and screen time is allowed sparingly and as a supplement to other meaningful activities and experiences, they can actually make significant educational gains. Samantha Murphy Kelly, a writer for CNN, expressed her opinion that between twenty to thirty-five minutes of educational app use by her two-year-old son has allowed “his attention span, fine motor, cognitive capability, and love for these activities blossom… and he is taking what he learns and turning it into real-world skills.” Kelly is supportive of technology that requires her son to interact with things on the screen.

Ultimately, the amount of screen time you allow your child to have is a personal preference. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when deciding what is best for your child. Do not allow any child under the age of two to use an electronic device. Also, if you decide to let your toddler have screen time, allow it sparingly and keep him or her monitored! Know what apps they are using and their content. Preview the apps to ensure their quality and work with your child as much as possible. Technology can be a great learning tool when engaging learning apps are utilized and it is interactive between parents and children.

@Wired magazine June 1 issue features an 18-page spread that covers a range of issues related to children, screen time, and use of tech. Luckily LPCPL subscribes to #flipster so you can read all about it.