Monday, March 31, 2014

Feeling in the Dark About Screen Time?

One of the takeaways from the Growing Wisconsin Readers Symposium is that more research is needed in the area of young children and technology.  Easier said than done, especially when technology changes so quickly.  The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for media and children recommend that, "Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens." 

One of the developers of these guidelines, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, recently adjusted his views in this area (see Screen Time Before 2?). However, a closer look at his reasoning suggests that we still do not have all of the answers.  Dr. Dipesh Navsaria walked attendees through the gray areas of Christakis' journal article during his presentation at the Growing Wisconsin Readers Symposium.  Susan Linn, Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, follows suit in a recent post Still No Evidence That Touch Screens Are Good for Babies.

Linn summarizes her concerns with this argument: Given Christakis's own concern that screen time may be addictive and may replace activities proven to be beneficial, babies could be harmed if his hunch leads more parents to encourage an hour a day of touch-screen time for their youngest, most vulnerable children. Meanwhile, no baby will be harmed if parents continue to follow the AAP's current, evidenced-based recommendation and keep their infants and toddlers screen-free.

Image Source: Flickr