December 2018 - Screen Time
Research-Based Answers to Your Questions about Screen Time
Here are the highlights from the presentation that Kindermusik International noted:
- When choosing what screen exposures are okay, there are 3 Cs to consider: Child, Content, Context.
- Every child is different, and parents know their children best. So knowledge about a child cannot be prescribed.
- When it comes to content, evidence shows NO negative effects from purely educational, age-appropriate content that is delivered via screen. (Examples of great educational content were given: Blues Clues, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street.) However, there is a “transfer deficit” that occurs. This means the learning that occurs from educational screen time is much less than the learning that occurs from face-to-face opportunities. Also in regard to content, the panelists strongly indicated that media which is purely entertainment or made for adults has MANY negative effects on young children.
- In terms of context, the way educational screen time is made valuable is when it is joint media engagement. In other words, an adult should be participating with the child in screen time. Finally, the panel warned that background media is not benign! They urge adults to turn off the televisions, the cell phones, the laptops…and just be present with the child. They also advise that when media exposures occur, they should be as advertisement-free as possible.
- Elisabeth McClure shared what she labels E-AIMS. She spoke of these as the four pillars of learning that adults should attend to in selecting educational media experiences for children.
- Engaging: Experiences should be interesting and fun for the child. The media must have a clear purpose—to focus children on a learning goal. For example, any story lines must be clear. Any “rewards” must be related to the activity itself and focused on the learning goal.
- Actively Involved: The experiences should be “minds on.” A child’s responses should be sought, and all activities should be age-appropriate and challenging without leading to frustration.
- Meaningful: Familiar settings and situations should always be used to introduce new ideas. Activities should not go overboard in forcing children to use their imaginations to conjure up what things are like.
- Social: Parents should be involved in the experiences when possible. If children are interacting solo, the experiences should be language rich, encouraging children to respond and to talk.
- Surveys reveal that our youngest children still watch television more than any other media. The average child from 0 to 2 watches 30 minutes daily. From ages 2 to 4, it’s 1 hour daily. Parents, on the other hand, spend 9 hours per day on screens … while 78% of those surveyed and admitting to this amount of usage say they are modeling good media habits for their children!