Screen Time Technology - When is it too much for Children?
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The Modern Day Idiot Box | When Screen Time Is Way Too Much For Children

Screen time & technology go hand in hand when it comes to children. Are children dumbing down by the use of unlimited technology?

THE GOOD

Technology has rapidly evolved through the years. From beepers/pagers, to flip phones, to blackberry, to smartphone, to tablet, to pads, to smart watches… what else could these technology gurus introduce to us now that we can’t currently do with our personal handheld devices?

There certainly are great advantages where technology has raised the bar in development, performance and innovation. Many schools throughout the United States, both public and private, have even adopted the use of applied technology in its curriculum.

No surprise – today’s schools are eliminating traditional hard cover text books and incorporating e-textbooks.

When is Screen Time too much for children
Pros and Cons of Screen Time and Technology

My children have attended STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) schools throughout the years, elementary, middle and high school. Quite honestly, I’ve seen so much advancements in their learning experience.  Their interests have been in-depth and they’ve also engaged their skills beyond expectation.

Their schools have provided each student with their own iPad minis to have during the school year, primarily for educational use. The apps and websites approved by their school offer valuable cognitive challenges in reading and math content, as appropriate to their respective grade levels.

THE BAD…

So what’s the problem? Where really is the line drawn when it comes to our children’s security, safety and development? The problem lies when an already technological, screen dependent generation become incapable of distinguishing the “needs” over the “want” with use of technology.

The problem lies when  the result is unwarranted temper tantrums, emotional outbursts and respect suddenly becomes optional. Most certainly, the problem lies when a child does everything possible to forfeit exceptional effort just for the sake of immediate self gratifying screen time.

Back in my day (…boy, do I sound old 😬), the television was considered an “idiot box.”

 

Screen Time and technology too much for children - The Modern Day Idiot Box
Silent Car Rides – Screen Time and Technology

Idiot Box: A controlled device slowly burning and killing off brain cells. A viewing device, perhaps only described by my Caribbean parents as the “devil,” ushering a wave of selective hearing children.

To “play” was to go outside, get messy and get into mischeif. The first time my siblings and I got a “game” was 2 years after the original Nintendo Mario Brothers game came out with the added bonus of Duck Hunt. Our parents even spent a little extra buying the Legends of Zelda game. While we were so ecstatic, our parents hated it even more as our priorities gradually shifted. Well that was in in the 80’s.

 THE MESSY TRUTH…

Screen Time and Technology - Martin Luther King Jr. on the functions of education

While technology will inevitably continue to be at large, today, more and more kids are so incredibly savvy, it almost seems like an expected developmental stage. Doctors would even caution parents to limit their children’s screen time, irrespective of device, to about 2 hours per day.

With so many positives, is it worth ignoring the risks that lies ahead? The lack of human interaction to lack of compassion. The lack of physical ability to lack of interest. Your children may not even recognize you anymore! Toddlers are pointing their fingers to glowing devices rather than colorful building blocks.

The numbers of attention deficit children are rising and children are becoming less and less emotionally expressive as a result of overall significant exposure.

This truly is a wake up call and one of significant importance. Playing a role in your child’s exposure to technology at school should impact the decision of parents. It’s a balancing act trying to limit their exposure at home to keep a healthy balance in screen time use.

Increased exposure to technology goes hand in hand with decreased interest in physical activity. This can created laziness, sluggishness, and potential obesity in children.

HEALTHY PARENT APPROVED ALTERNATIVES

There are ways, however, for parents to consider in taking control of the quality in content their children are accessible to view.  The most obvious would be managing and setting restrictions within their tablet’s setting and setting goals to earn privileges.

Unfortunately, what use to be considered as strict restrictions under parental control are now far more looser definitions of restrictions.  Today, when carefully researched, there are a number of kid friendly electronics that are considerate to parents concerns.

One tablet I’ve found to be a parent’s dream tablet is the Fire Kids Edition with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.

Here some of it’s amazing features:

Built for kids:

In FreeTime, the background color changes to blue, letting parents know at a glance that their child is safe. Kids only see titles that have been selected for them. Younger kids can search before they know how to type by using Characters – for example, tap on “Cinderella,” “Dinosaurs,” or “Puppies”.

No surprises:

While in FreeTime, kids do not have access to social media or the internet, and they can’t make in-app purchases.

Screen Time limits:

Limiting your child’s screen time can be challenging without the proper tools. FreeTime lets parents set daily limits, or restrict certain categories – like games and video – while leaving unlimited time for reading.

Screen Time and Technology for Children - All New Amazon Fire HD8

Smart Filters:

FreeTime Smart Filters ensure that your child sees age-appropriate content within FreeTime Unlimited. We use input from Common Sense Media and from parents like you to ensure that pre-teens don’t get the baby stuff and little kids don’t see the scary stuff. Parents can also adjust Smart Filter settings to tailor the experience for each child.

Learn First: 

With Learn First, parents can block access to games and cartoons until after educational goals are met. Using Bedtime, parents can control when FreeTime shuts down for the day.

Individual Profiles:

Parents can create up to four individual child profiles, customize each child’s access to content from the parent’s library, and decide which FreeTime Unlimited titles will be viewable in each profile. It’s like giving each kid their very own, personalized tablet. Kids can’t exit FreeTime mode without a password.

Child-safe Camera:

Kids can take pictures and edit them by adding stickers, drawings, and more. Parents can view photos and videos taken by their children in a separate photo gallery, and have the option to auto-save to Amazon Cloud Drive.

Conversely, parents who would like to consider an eased approach to decreasing screen time consumption, could benefit from Amazon STEM Toys.

 

Screen Time Technology with Children - Amazon STEM Toys

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but what STEM education focuses on is much more than these four subjects. The focus of STEM education is how these subjects relate to each other and the real world. That means that these subjects need to be taught together and be focused on problem solving.

STEM toys encourage kids to develop skills in the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I chose these STEM toys because they have clear goals and encourage kids to learn STEM skills while having fun. CLICK HERE  or the picture below to find out more.

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/28/343735856/kids-and-screen-time-what-does-the-research-say

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214003227

http://www.livestrong.com/article/46320-obesity-children-technology

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/21/health/screen-time-media-rules-children-aap

http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies

What are your thoughts on screen time and technology with our children today? I’d love to hear from you so please share them below!

 

As always, stay prayed up and be blessed!

Yours Truly,

Prophese – Founder/Owner, Dreams Of My Own

“A single mom with BIG faith and BIG dreams because of a BIG God!”

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6 Comments

  • Andrew

    Good write up. I think about this all of the time. When I was a child I had my baseball mitt, a baseball, my bike, a pair of skates. There were no tablets, flip phones only became affordable when I was in my late teens. We had a cheap home computer but back then, the internet was empty and mom was on the phone so you couldn’t use the internet anyway, remember the sound of dial-up connecting to the internet? Our children will never know the feeling of having to wait to access information.

    My daughter is 5 years old, she can navigate an iPad to find where her games are, she can grab my phone and knows exactly what to do to take a selfie. I think to myself about this, have I gone wrong to introduce her to these devices? I mean it all started with her LeapPad and it quickly evolved from there.

    In an effort to introduce a leapfrog for education, soon became savvy enough to navigate modern handheld devices. I guess that’s just the direction this world is going, it’s our job as parents to limit the exposure and take them to the park to get messy like we did as kids.

    • Prophese

      Andrew, I do certainly remember the dial up noise… so loud and long! I do understand your sincere beginnings introducing the Leap Frog as I too did the same. In fact, it was my compromise to compensate my kids desire to have a handheld device. Sadly, as they’ve gotten older, I hardly hear about the next sport they wish to be signed up for or some creative adventure they wish to explore. Instead, I here more of “I’m bored” if even with minutes without the use of their pads.

      The changes will not occur quitting them cold turkey, but the change will come with steadfast consistency and follow through.

      Thanks for stopping by Andrew!

  • Jose Jaramillo

    It’s interesting how rapidly technology has expanded over time. I’m almost 30 but still cell phones were not something I saw used as much as they are now. I’m still not very keen on cell phones. I rarely use one, most of my work is done on a computer.

    I still depend on technology throughout the day. It has indeed helped in small ways, eliminating the amount of time to send bills or messages but with children it is another story. They can grow attached to the electronic devices and tune out.

    I don’t think restrictions will work but educating and promoting the knowledge on it’s harm and how it ought to be used is very helpful.

  • Owain

    Thank you for sharing this post. It certainly has raised some opinions for me. I have always grown up with technology and I see it being a big part of our future. So we will have to learn to live with it. But where do we draw the line?

    I though was a shy child when I grew up but as an adult I have learned to get out of my shell. I suppose though it may depend on the individual child and also the people around them.

    • Prophese

      Owain, I believe the most affected by all this are the younger generation. I, too, agree that technology is a big part of our future however, the distinctions we can make now is unfortunately not so apparent to 0younger children today. I don’t think they can say that they remember using imaginative play, or remember real interactive engagement with new friends. The younger generation today considers a username with a picture as their friends. The concept of physical labor is synonymous to torturous labor to them.

      In response to drawing the line, it is my opinion that we, the ones who still hold the true distinction between reality and virtual reality, have to keep that very transparent to them. With my own children, the remains a challenge but one that I must remain consistent in. The goal certainly isn’t to eliminate technology from them, and not even from ourselves, but the consideration of drawing back and limiting use in order to preserve the natural essence of humanity is a responsibility we all must carry.

      Thanks for stopping by!!!

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