Friday, January 18, 2013

Screen Time or Scream Time?

With the holiday season not far behind us it's a good time to visit one of the ongoing issues surrounding young children. Screen time. Each year it appears more and more children, at a younger and younger age, are receiving gifts such as smart phones, visual media players, tablets and even their own televisions.
Researchers are almost unanimous in their findings that screen time for children under 2 years of age should be minimal. For children aged from 2-5 years the recommendations are for no more than an hour a day. Yet in the real world the reality is far different from this in most cases.
Aren't there many other much better options for children to feast their eyes upon?
My view on the matter is we as a society (that includes parents, family members, educators and other influences in children's lives) should avoid introducing multiple screen options for children under 5 and even limiting it until age 10 at least. Now that may seem a little extreme to some and it's very dependent on individual circumstances, but my reasons are fairly simple. Most activities that involve children watching a screen of some description these days involves a form of immediate gratification, whether that be an 'award' for successfully completing a problem or level on an 'educational' program or simply lots of loud noises and bright colours. Also, many of the applications, shows or add-ons are advertised as educational or assisting children's development which is often a false prophecy. there may be aspects of the product that educate or develop various areas of the child, but for the most part they are more marketing gimmicks than factual realities.

I have much more to say, but I'm using this post more as an avenue to open up dialogue on the subject. For that reason, unless you request a response from me I'll be leaving the discussion to my followers and other readers. This is society's issue and therefore everyone should have their say if they choose.

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