Monday, December 12, 2011

Tots and Technology

The amount of screen time recommended by experts for young children and the amount of screen time the average child watches are two very different numbers. Kids are averaging double the amount of recommended time in front of screens.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
  • Children under 2 should have no screen time (Research reality: these kids average of 2 hours per day)
  • Children over the age of 2 should watch no more than 2 hours a day (Research reality: these kids average of 4 hours per day)
Why is this so important? Young children’s brains are being wired based on what they are experiencing. One of the critical systems being developed is how to form and maintain emotional relationships. Developing these emotional relationships requires lots of interaction with loving caregivers. When kids miss this care, later on they fail to thrive in peer relationships and also tend to do poorly in school.

There are so many tantalizing new devices being developed for tots like the Vinci tablet. The description on Amazon is “VINCI is a new category of early learning systems exclusively designed for children ages 4 and under.” While it’s tempting to plug young kids into screens to keep them occupied, there are serious ramifications which are not immediately apparent.

You are responsible for setting limits on your children’s screen time. The Active Bodies, Active Mind website has more ideas for reducing screen time.