Yesterday iPad for Christmas was trending on Twitter. I personally was appalled. As a parent of young children, and a lover off all technology, I urge you to move slowly with your children into the screen world, and especially the tablet world. Once you make the jump with your children there is no turning back. We as a society are learning more and more the consequences of extended time in front of screens, with the worst offenders being some of the most popular tablets. Interestingly, yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics' set new guidelines for screen time outlined brilliantly in this article by the Wall Street Journal. So move slowly my friends into the world of tablets .
REPUBLISHED FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Parents should ban electronic media during mealtimes and after bedtime as part of a comprehensive "family media use plan," according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The influential new guidelines are being spurred by a growing recognition of kids' nearly round-the-clock media consumption, which includes everything from television to texting and social media.
"Excessive media use is associated with obesity, poor school performance, aggression and lack of sleep," said Marjorie Hogan, co-author of the new policy and a pediatrician.
Families should have a no-device rule during meals and after bedtime, the guidelines say. Parents should also set family rules covering the use of the Internet and social media and cellphones and texting, including, perhaps, which sites can be visited, who can be called and giving parental access to Facebook accounts. The policy also reiterated the AAP's existing recommendations: Kids should limit the amount of screen time for entertainment to less than two hours per day; children younger than 2 shouldn't have any TV or Internet exposure. Also, televisions and Internet-accessible devices should be kept out of kids' bedrooms.
Doctors say parents need to abide by the family rules, too, to model healthy behavior. That, some say, may be the toughest part. "If you go to any restaurant, Family 3.0 is Mom and Dad are on their devices and the kids are on theirs," says Donald L. Shifrin, a pediatrician in Bellevue, Wash., and an AAP spokesman. "Who is talking to each other?"
Children ages 8 to 18 spent an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day consuming media for fun, including TV, music, videogames and other content in 2009, according to a 2010 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report was based on a survey of 2,002 third- through 12th-graders, 702 of whom completed a seven-day media use diary. That was up about an hour and 17 minutes a day from five years earlier. About two-thirds of 8- to 18-year-olds said they had no rules on the amount of time they spent watching TV, playing videogames or using the computer, the Kaiser report found.
Use of mobile devices by young kids has soared. A new report from Common Sense Media, a child-advocacy group based in San Francisco, found that 17% of children 8 and younger use mobile devices daily, up from 8% in 2011.
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Matt Hansen is the Director of Marketing at Fat Brain Toys. He is the father of two children, Duncan and Hadley, and has been married to his wife Kate for 10 years. He is a former minor league baseball executive spending nearly 10 years working for teams such as the St. Paul Saint and Sioux Falls Canaries.
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