(p. B1) The American Academy of Pediatrics once recommended parents simply limit children’s time on screens. The association changed those recommendations in 2016 to reflect profound differences in levels of interactivity between TV, on which most previous research was based, and the devices children use today.
Where previous guidelines described all screen time for (p. B4) young children in terms of “exposure,” as if screen time were a toxic substance, new guidance allows for up to an hour a day for children under 5 and distinguishes between different kinds of screen use–say, FaceTime with Grandma versus a show on YouTube.
. . .
Instead of enforcing time-based rules, parents should help children determine what they want to do–consume and create art, marvel at the universe–and make it a daily part of screen life, says Anya Kamenetz, a journalist and author of the coming book “The Art of Screen Time–How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life.”
In doing so, parents can offer “extraordinary learning” experiences that weren’t possible before such technology came along, says Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine and a cultural anthropologist who has studied how children actually use technology for over two decades.
“Extraordinary learning” is what happens when children’s interests turn to passion, and a combination of tech and the internet provides a bottomless well of tools, knowledge and peers to help them pursue these passions with intensity characteristic of youth.
It’s about more than parents spending time with children. It includes steering them toward quality and letting them–with breaks for stretching and visual relief, of course–dive deep without a timer.
There are many examples of such learning, whether it is children teaching themselves to code with the videogame Minecraft or learning how to create music and shoot videos. Giving children this opportunity allows them to learn at their own, often-accelerated pace.
For the full commentary, see:
Christopher Mims. “KEYWORDS; Not All Screen Time Is Equal Screen Time Isn’t Toxic After All.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, Jan. 22, 2018): B1 & B4.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary was last updated Jan. 22, 2018, and has the title “KEYWORDS; What If Children Should Be Spending More Time With Screens?”)
The book mentioned above, is:
Kamenetz, Anya. The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. New York: PublicAffairs, 2018.