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Young children and screen time


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Young children and screen time

  1. 1. YOUNG CHILDREN AND SCREEN TIME How Much Is Too Much? Sarah L. Mack SOE 115- Psychology of Teaching and Learning Kendall College
  2. 2. OVERVIEW Technology as it relates to screen viewing has become ubiquitous in our daily lives. Our smartphones and tablets have taken over many tasks. While I am on the train, I see many people commuting with their small children. Each and every child I see has their face glued to a tablet or electronic device of some sort, while their caregiver is doing the same. I am on the train for about 45 minutes each way. The only conversation exchanges I hear is relating to snacks or their devices. While technological devices can make our lives as adults seemingly less complicated, what effect do they have on young children whose brains are so malleable and still developing? In the classroom, teachers often use technology in practice. We use devices to document development, enhance and extend learning, and to collect data, among many other things. There are many sides to the debate of whether devices should be used at all for young children. The stance I take is if used in moderation, it is not harmful and can be beneficial in preparing children to use technology responsibly in this world of constantly evolving technology.
  3. 3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? According to Shapiro (2013), the use of screen time with young children is not all bad. He claims that when adults participate in watching or utilizing devices with children, they learn important social skill by the adult being intentional with conversation about the program. This piece, he says is what is missing in parenting strategies. His role as a fellow at the Cooney Center at Sesame Street Workshop may make his opinion slightly biased, but his PhD in the study of how video games and other technologies help us relate to the world, gives weight to his opinion. Sesame Street calls the practice of watching and discussing television shows together “coviewing”. Other researchers call it “Joint Media Engagement” or JME. Shapiro goes into various way in which these practices are most successful.
  4. 4. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?, CONT. Restrictive Mediation is the description given for the rules and restrictions we place on children’s use of screen time. Instructive Mediation is the ways in which we use media as a teaching tool. Social Coviewing is when you watch along with children, but without conversation as in watching a movie in a theater. Parallel Play is when you are simultaneously working on different devices in the same space, while still in conversation and not ignoring the child.
  5. 5. WHAT ARE THE RISKS? Dr. Sara Lapp (2015) seems to lean more toward less screen time, but I can tell she understands that it is not going anywhere any time soon or if ever. She discusses how screen time effects children’s health. “…increased screen time is associated with higher rates of childhood obesity, behavior problems, ADHD, poor sleep quality, poor physical activity and poor school performance”. It can also weigh on a child’s emotional sense because when adults are constantly using technologies in the presence of young children, the message that is being sent is that they [child] are less important than the television, computer, or phone. Children whose caregivers are constantly glued to a phone tend to exhibit more risky behavior. According to the article, a study was done to prove this, but it was inconclusive about whether children’s risky behavior was related to the need for attention from their caregivers.
  6. 6. WHAT ARE THE RISKS?, CONT. Some of the ways Dr. Lapp lists as ways to be better examples for children in using technology responsibly are: Removing the television from the bedroom. Screens can negatively influence sleep patterns that can ultimately cause unfavorable behaviors due to sleep deprivation. Banning electronics at mealtimes encourages more conversation with and from children. Placing limits on screen time. She recommends no more than an hour daily. Setting aside playtime shows children that they are a priority to you, hence minimizing risky attention seeking behavior. Use devices together.
  7. 7. LONG-TERM EFFECTS There are some benefits to using screen time and other technologies, but we must take into account the long-term effects of too much and at what age are children most at risk. In Psychology Today, Dr. Liraz Margalit explains that technology is not always bad. The use of educational apps and television can be used to sharpen developing children’s brains and help with some communication skills along with giving caregivers short and well needed breaks. She warns though, that extended use of gadgets can impede cognitive development. The very same devices parents use to increase or enhance development is doing just the opposite, especially during the critical ages of birth to three. The stimuli that is necessary at this time can not be achieved by staring and tapping at a screen, causing irreversible delays.
  8. 8. LONG-TERM EFFECTS, CONT. A study presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, found that “that the more time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using handheld screens such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games, the more likely they were to experience speech delays.” The study involved almost 900 children, 18 months old. “Twenty percent of the children spent an average of 28 minutes a day using screens, the study found. Every 30-minute increase in daily screen time was linked to a 49% increased risk of what the researchers call expressive speech delay, which is using sounds and words.” Since this is one of the first studies of its kind, they feel more research needs to be done to come up with a conclusive finding. This study makes the assertion that spending more time interacting with young children is the best way to provide language learning. While they do not ignore the fact that we will seemingly never be away from screens, we are doing more of a disservice to children when we fail to offer children the stimuli they need to grow and develop.
  9. 9. CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS In each of my sources, there were strong claims and opinions about how technology through screens can be beneficial or an serve to stunt a child’s development. The first is an avid proponent of involving children in the technologies that are so prevalent in our lives, as they are not going any place. The second leans on the emotional deficits that over-usage can cause. The third makes claims that too much technology can impede a child’s cognitive development due to a lack of environmental stimuli that is needed to properly develop. The last is an inconclusive study on how too much technology can cause speech and language delays in children under 2 years of age. The things they each agreed upon were that adults should spend more time with children, placing limits on screen time, and being responsible examples of how we should use such devices. I believe that children should have access to and be able to use such devices because it has become a necessary skill in order to be successful in many cases. I also believe that as teachers, parents and other caregivers, we should place limitations on how long and in what manner these devices are being used.
  10. 10. REFERENCES Lappe, S. (2015, June 12). How electronics could be affecting your child's health. Retrieved May 17, 2017, Website: electronics-could-be-affecting-your-childs-health Margalit, L. (2016, April 17). What screen time can really do to kids' brains. Retrieved May 17, 2017, Website: screen-time-can-really-do-kids-brains Shapiro, J. (2013, July 17). Research says screen time can be good for your kids. Retrieved May 17, 2017, Website: can-be-good-for-your-kids/#573ad10e5823 Wallace, K. (2017, May 4). Letting a baby play on an iPad might lead to speech delays, study says. Retrieved May 17, 2017, Website: https://amp-cnn-
  11. 11. REFERENCES Wallace, K. (2017, May 4). Letting a baby play on an iPad might lead to speech delays, study says. Retrieved May 17, 2017, Website: https://amp-cnn- screen-time-speech-delays-study/index.html