The team at learning toy company Click-A-Brick say they are impressed with blogger and parent Lisa Schmeiser’s level-headed response to the growing concern about young children’s exposure to electronic devices.
In a blog post for the Macworld website, Schmeiser says she has considered all the relevant research and recommendations for children and electronics and has come up with what she describes as “a reduced-guilt screen policy” for her own child that still limits screen time, but allows for it within her own personal guidelines.
Those guidelines (presented as a series of questions in Schmeiser’s blog post) include:
only allowing screen time for her daughter once in a while,
only allowing screen time in mid-afternoon to early evening,
never allowing screen time during meals,
only allowing screen time with apps that offer interactive and creative play,
limiting screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day, and
only allowing screen time when there is a parent present.
“All these questions circle around a few core ideas: Knowing your child’s personality and teaching your child how to treat technology as one well-regulated element in their daily life,” she wrote. “If you don’t want your kid to be a mindless zombie in front of a screen, you can’t mindlessly shove them in front of one.”
Schmeiser said she still considers the recommendations of screen time for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics as being the best case scenario -- no screen time for children under age 2, no TV screens in any child’s room, and having a parent present for any electronic entertainment consumption. Despite these recommendations, she says, parents are still giving their children devices to keep them busy, but she believes if it’s done right and parents use the devices together with their children, much like they would a book, interacting with screens can be beneficial for children.
In a debate that sees people taking strong stands on one side or the other, Schmeiser’s development of her own guidelines for screen time for her daughter are reasonable and a good compromise between the inevitability of a child using electronic devices and the recommendations from child development experts that screens be kept away from young kids altogether learning toy company Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say.
“We appreciate Ms. Schmeiser’s approach to managing her child’s screen time with her own personal guidelines,” Smith said. “Like her, we believe the American Academy of Pediatricians has the best recommendation for screen time for children, but we also recognize that electronic devices themselves aren’t bad. Some parents use them in what I would describe as an irresponsible way, but that can be true for anything. What Ms. Schmeiser has done is taken the expert recommendations and tailored them so they fit her lifestyle in a responsible way. It’s refreshing to see a thoughtful approach like this that takes into consideration both expert advice and common sense to address a young child’s screen time.”
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