The debate about children, screen time and electronic device use goes on.
Here’s an interesting article from NPR that starts with a stark fact – MOST American children are spending more time engaged with screen based devices than they spend attending school! This pervasive presence in the lives of our children has come upon us like a steam train. For many parents it may, at times, have seemed to be a godsend in terms of its ability to act as an unpaid child-minder, even though some may have been questioning whether it was all really a good thing.
We’ve all seen the children in malls, some still in push chairs and prams who are so glued to the devices in their hands that they are oblivious to the world around them. How long before we are confronted with the full implications of the tech-nannies?
The article previews new official guidelines expected to be published very soon in the US. The people behind those recommendations acknowledge that the evidence and data is by no means conclusive yet, from a scientific standpoint. However, I think they’re right to say that this is such a live issue that they cannot afford to wait. Instead, they must take what evidence is available, combine it with practical considerations of the world we live in today and advise accordingly.
I believe rightly, it seems the new guidelines will broaden the discussion from simply talking about how long children are using screen devices, but also the quality of content and material they are engaging with. Also, recommendations for parents to set a good example are surely due!
So, no pretending there are simple answers. However, what is important is that as research continues we keep ourselves sensibly informed, calibrate our actions accordingly and draw sensible and realistic conclusions.