Before I dove into the sometimes controversial waters of technology and development, I talked to a lot of people about parenting and screen time, including some experts. I wrote about what I learned in a column about the parenting challenges that ubiquitous screens pose in the 21st century.
Following is a quick list of insights to scan & share, with a big lift from danah boyd at the end.
1) Screens are ubiquitous in modern life. How we integrate them into our own lives will influence our children.
2) Engagement with our children as we consume media, whether on TV, tablets, or print, is critical to their learning.
3) “Parents can’t go wrong if they engage in “dialogic learning.” As you read or watch screens, talk about the stories.
4) There’s an important difference between children passively consuming media on a screen andusing it to be social. Watching a video isn’t the same as Facetiming with grandparents.
5) Parents should consider if screen time consuming media may be replacing human-to-human interaction.
6) Kids generally learn better with materials they can touch, vs what they see on a screen. 3D > 2D.
7) Not all screen time is detrimental. It should be age appropriate, time-limited, & involve parents.
8) Children learning through play are negatively impacted by screens playing in the background.
9) Watching TV or videos 2 hours before bedtime can have negative impacts on children’s sleep.
10) Common sense: use of mobile devices by parents, ignoring children, can lead to them acting out.
11) Too much interactivity in ebooks and games can actually distract from story lines and learning.
12) From danah boyd: “Parents: check your own screen engagement when you’re with your kid. We set the norms.
13) “When you’ve got younger kids, talk through every interaction you have with a screen” — danah boyd
14) “When your kids are older, talk them through how they want to allocate their time in general” — danah boyd
15) “It’s not about ‘screen vs. non-screen’ because homework is now screen. It’s about thinking about what time should look like.” — danah boyd
16) “What makes screen time ‘educational’ is…how the tech or media is integrated into life more generally”- — danah boyd
17) “Forgive yourself for using tech as a babysitter sometimes.”— danah boyd. Have empathy for other parents, too, especially on plane rides or long bus rides.
Fellow parents, your comments and thoughts on screen time, kids and learning are welcome.