Inspiring Educators Who Inspire Future Leaders
How do we determine what valuable screen time looks like for small children? I found an article by Motoko Rich which questions content viewed by children when using electronic devices. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “children between 8-18 spend an average of 53 hours per week using electronics (and about 7.5 hours a day). This number, according to the survey, has grown dramatically in just 5 years.” We know that kids are in front of screens more and more but do we really know what they are viewing? Rich says children (2 to 10) spend “less than half their time interacting or viewing electronic screens their parents believe contain [developmentally appropriate] educational content.” Even more challenging is that as “children get older; it is less likely that they will actively choose educational content when using an electronic device.”
So what can we do? I believe parents and teachers have to monitor the amount of time spent using electronic devices; mixing the fun stuff with the content that helps to support the work taught in school. I also believe parents should seek the advice of teachers to help find the best electronic tools/resources. Teachers are a great resource because they can give suggestions that are fun and also developmentally appropriate. Finally, I believe we have to ask children to step away from the screen. If there is one negative for me when it comes to lots of screen time for young children is that it often means children are spending a lot of time alone. I think it is important to make screen time family time so that children learn how to engage with others. Clearly there are no easy answers but that does not mean we cannot find better ways to maximize screen time for young children. Ultimately, I believe there is real value in screen time for young children; however, like everything it should be done well and in moderation. Check out Motoko Rich’s post on nytimes.com. tlb
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Balance is always difficult in the arena of “Screen Time” especially since schools use a great deal of technology in the classroom and students need to be “On Screen” for research and homework.
I absolutely agree balance is difficult when considering screen time in the classroom as well as how much screen time we request of students after school. However, I believe it is important to strive for balance always when making technology decisions. Thank you so much for your support. tlb
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