In the last few weeks there have been some widely conflicting reports about how much screen time – and what kind of screen time – is appropriate for young children.  There seems to be several schools of thought on the matter, including a growing movement to ban all handheld devices for children under the age of 12.  For parents like me who don’t limit screen time on handheld devices, this would be the equivalent of going cold turkey for my kids.  Bottom line: it just ain’t happenin’.

We do, however, limit the amount of television we watch.  My husband and I have decided that while the handheld devices we own offer interactive learning (depending on the app) and can teach our two young children a range of skills that supplement their school learning, TV is just there.  In our opinion it just spits out noise and pictures, however “educational” the programming might claim to be.  At least with the iPad our kids can engage with the app at hand and actively learn while also playing and being entertained.

I could go into greater detail about why we choose NOT to limit non-TV screen time, but that’s a post for a different day.  The folks over at the Fred Rogers Center – a leader in early learning and  children’s media – have provided this checklist to ensure that your kids’ screen time is quality time:

  • Parents should only use screen media in moderation with their young child if they use it at all.
  • Never use it as a babysitter or a replacement for human contact.
  • Engage in interactive media together with your child; you will be surprised at how much that helps in the learning.
  • Know that not all media is created equal. Some apps are of great benefit to learning, others are nothing more than poison. Two resources to help determine which is which are  Common Sense Media and Children’s Technology Review. These sites rate interactive media products, and their appropriateness for users of all ages.

 

Check out the article in its entirety here

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