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The confusing truth about screen time for kids

2021-07-29T09:45:15.637Z

The belief that screen time destroys the brain and body of our children is currently being reviewed. 07/29/2021 6:02 AM Clarín.com Families Updated 7/29/2021 6:02 AM Before and especially during the pandemic , parents , doctors and researchers have moved towards a more nuanced message, which can be both comforting and confusing: screen time or technology can be good for children, although also bad. It depends. Colleen Russo Johnson , mother and child development expert, says extreme and unreal



07/29/2021 6:02 AM

  • Clarín.com

  • Families

Updated 7/29/2021 6:02 AM

Before and especially during the

pandemic

,

parents

, doctors and researchers have moved towards a more nuanced message, which can be both comforting and confusing: screen time or technology can be good for children, although also bad.

It depends.

Colleen Russo Johnson

, mother and child development expert, says extreme and unrealistic views about screen time have long been put aside.

There are few absolutes about what children should or should not do with technology and the media.

And it would be helpful if caregivers did not feel judged, regardless of their decisions.

"

We have to stop seeing this as a black and white issue

," Russo Johnson told me.

"You don't want your kids to always be glued to screens. That's common sense," he said.

"But everything is not bad. There is a lot of variety, and not everything is created equal."

Russo Johnson was the co-founder of a children's media and technology company, so it benefits if parents think screen time is okay.

But it is also one of the many voices calling for a rethink of the view that the time children spend with technology is totally bad.

Experts recommend not being extreme about children's screen time.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

No extreme messages

Russo Johnson says extreme messages about technology from kids have been especially damaging to parents, for whom providing screen time might be the best option.

Perhaps the

game to the outdoors

is unavailable or unsafe, and some parents

need their children are facing a screen while juggling work

and other responsibilities.

During the pandemic, Russo Johnson said, "everyone experienced that reality for a moment."

That prompted more parents and researchers to acknowledge that it is not always clear what the "healthy balance" is for children in front of screens.

So how do you go from the view that screen time turns young people into monsters, to a happier middle ground?

Russo Johnson offers parents some ideas about screen time, although they are not rules.

No rules.

He said a question parents can ask themselves is, "How does this particular device or screen, technology or feature enhance or diminish the experience?"

Time alone is also good for children.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

Russo Johnson said caregivers can sometimes seek out digital media or technology that encourages younger children to be creative and engage in off-screen activities, such as going treasure hunts or playing dress-up, based on directions on the screen. screen.

He's a fan of the Toca Boca and Sago Mini apps, which encourage young children to explore open-ended games without a lot of instructions.

Russo Johnson's company, OK Play, makes children and their families the protagonists of stories and games.

This is not to say that more passive activities, like watching a video, are bad, he says.

When possible, it can be great for parents to engage with their children while using an app, reading a book, or looking at the screen, but not always.

Time alone is also good for children.

Again, no rules!

Variety in the digital world

If you don't pay attention to what your kids are doing online, they might find some bad sites on the internet.

But Russo Johnson says parents shouldn't be overly concerned if kids stray from an extremely careful digital world.

He said he was once showing his 4-year-old daughter videos of French songs, wandering off for a while and coming back, to find that his daughter was watching YouTube videos of toys performing with poorly scripted plots.

The lack of clear rules and the amount of technology available can seem like a burden to parents.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

Instead of freaking out, Russo Johnson said it made her wonder why her daughter was drawn to those videos.

Recognize that the

lack of clear rules

and the amount of technology available to children can also seem like a burden.

"With streaming and apps, anyone can post anything, which puts more work on parents," he says.

It's not always clear what the "healthy balance" is for kids in front of screens.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

I asked him why the experts' recommendations and the beliefs of many parents about children and technology focused on

fear

for so long.

Russo Johnson said those views reflect the constant anxieties about children and the way we react to the new.

"Research on child development will never happen at the speed of technology," said Russo Johnson.

Photo Shutterstock.

"

Research on child development will never happen at the speed of technology,

" he said, "and by default we will make decisions based on fear ... So a lot of people will take the approach of, if we don't know for sure, then it's bad and we should avoid it. "

By Shira Ovide, for The New York Times.

Look also

Social media day: the most common dangers for children and adolescents

Sexual acronyms and keywords used by Zillennials and Centennials on social media

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-07-29

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