Media And Children
We live in an era of media and technology. For children born in this generation, computers, smartphones, and tablets have just been a fact of life. Toddlers know how to swipe around dad’s phone to get to the app they want. Preschoolers are asking Alexa to play their favorite song (20 times in a row). Older kids are obsessed with Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite. And, it’s a daily struggle to get your teen to look up from their phone long enough to have a decent conversation about their day. So yes, it’s safe to say that our children are growing up in a world immersed in technology.
Today’s scope of technology
Many of us grew up in a technology-filled world as well, but not to the extent our children are. Yes, we had things like cellphones and computers, but they didn’t have as much potential to fill up every aspect of our day. These days, technology is more available and accessible to kids (think smartphones and tablets) and is even geared towards kids sometimes (like the Sprout tablet or Leapster products). YouTube and streaming services like Netflix make cartoons and other shows available to kids in ways they never were before. Kids can watch what they want when they want (often without the pesky commercial breaks we had to sit through). Therefore, it’s more important than ever to monitor and limit your child’s technology time.
Media and children’s behavior
Exposing your children to too much technology, or exposing them too early, can have detrimental effects. In a recent study, a fast-paced cartoon (Spongebob) was shown to children. The children were required to complete tasks afterward that called for attention and self-control. The study found that immediately after watching fast-paced shows children scored poorly on these tests. When it comes to media and children’s development, too much can result in behavior issues and attention issues. Does that mean that your children should stay away from Spongebob and other fast-paced cartoons? Not exactly. This article from Psychology Today does a good job of explaining how to balance things out. And check out our blog for some of the benefits of screen time and how to make the most of your child’s allotted screen time.
Monitoring media consumption
Knowing what your children are watching and playing is extremely important. Recently, nefarious videos and challenges, like the momo challenge, have been in the spotlight. This scary video apparently would pop up in the middle of otherwise normal kid videos. Because of this, it’s essential to know what your child is watching. Try to sit and watch videos with your child occasionally. Ask him or her questions about what they’ve watched and always check the watch history when you’re not able to sit with them. Talk about Internet safety and how they should never give out their real name, age, or location (even general location) while playing online games or on social media.
How much technology is ok?
It’s essential to limit your child’s screen time. The Amerian Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all before the age of 18 months-2 years. If you choose, at 18 months, up to a half hour of guided screen time can be introduced. This means that you should sit with your child as they watch a show or play a game. Aim for slow-moving shows and very simple games aimed at toddlers. From the ages of 2-5, you can allow up to an hour of screen time. No time limits are given after the age of 6, but many experts recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time a day.
Following these guidelines and being aware of the harmful aspects of technology can help keep your child safe and make both of you happy. For more, check out our blog section on the MVP website.