The Truth About Screen Time, Tech, and Young People →January 8, 2019 • #
A good piece with some sane thinking on the effects of screen time for kids:
“We are fed a steady diet from the press that screens are bad for kids – if you show people enough of those terrible articles based on terrible research, a proportion of people will have a terrible idea about screens,” says Andrew Przybylski, associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Oxford and director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute.
The way schools want to penetrate so deeply into in-the-home education is baffling to me. It’s tons of homework, and now tracking screen time:
“I think if schools are trying to influence how much screen time is happening in the home, that is a pretty serious overreach because there really isn’t good scientific evidence that (such a move) would protect young people or advance their health in any way.”
Any talk about screen time for kids seems to gravitate to the extreme: it’s so damaging that it should be outright banned for anyone younger than 2 or 3, and should approach zero at ages beyond. I know people that have completely avoided screens of any kind until their kids were 2 or 3 — phones, tablets, TV.
As a parent I now have 3½ years of empirical data on screen time. To start, raising kids is already stressful enough without saddling yourself with yet another constraint. If kids can get enjoyment, learning, or engagement out of something digital, why ban it completely?
The key we’ve discovered — as with anything — is moderation. Elyse has watched movies and shows since she was very young, same with Everett. But we’re cognizant of the usage and manage it appropriately as much as we can, both from content and time perspectives. While they’re both young, I’ve seen zero to little impact of screen time yet on their development. In fact, so far with Elyse I’d say it’s been beneficial, not detrimental. She learns words and ideas from TV shows, plays educational games she enjoys, and gets to see the same Disney movies and know the other characters her friends are all talking about at school. The lesson so far I’ve learned: kids are extremely resilient, elastic, and anti-fragile. 30 minutes watching TV won’t ruin their brain.
What goes on at home is certainly important to early development, but focusing on the small day to day behaviors loses what should be the larger focus of parenting: engaging with your kids, letting them play, socializing, and trial and error.