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Don’t panic! Here’s how to make screens a positive in family life

The Guardian – Anya Kamenetz

“Seymour Papert, a pioneer in educational technology and personal computing, fought hard for laptops to be used in schools. Why should children have their own devices? “Well, the simple answer is that I have one,” he once said. “It’s the prime instrument for our days for intellectual work.” Parents who smile on a child playing with Lego, colouring with crayons or reading a comic book, sometimes feel uneasy when she or he is busy with the digital equivalent. The quality of the media they are using matters, of course. But the mere fact that it is electronic media shouldn’t automatically discount its value.” (more)

Training in media literacy is in order

E-School News – Larry Atkins

“When I ask my students whether they’ve received training in media literacy, they respond with shrugs and blank stares. Freshmen frequently cite obscure websites as sources in their papers instead of government documents or respected news sources. Try MayoClinic.org and CDC.gov on the legalization of medical marijuana, I tell them, not “Joe’s Weed page.” A 2016 Stanford University study showed that middle school, high school, and college students have difficulty judging the credibility of online information and are frequently duped by fake news, biased sources, and sponsored content.” (more)

Screen Time Reality Check — For Kids And Parents

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“In many households, screens are omnipresent. That reality has some big implications for children. Researchers, for example, have found language delays in those who watch more television. So what are parents and caregivers to do? That question can be tricky to answer, says Amanda Lenhart, who studies how families use technology at The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. “The thing about parenting today with digital technology is that you don’t have your own experience to go back to and look at,” Lenhart recently told NPR’s All Things Considered. “When you were 10, there probably weren’t cellphones. Parents think it’s kind of a brave new world, and it changes so fast.” For guidance on screen time, parents often turn to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2016, the group pulled back from its longstanding recommendation of no screen time for children under 2 years.”(more)

‘Get children playing outdoors’ to improve academic success and reduce obesity

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card 2016 has found that children’s physical activity levels are continuing to fall well short of recommended levels…The researchers have proposed that strategies to promote physical activity and reduce screen time should place a higher emphasis on playing actively outdoors, something children could potentially do 365 days a year…Professor John Reilly, of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, led the study. He said: “The amount of time children spend in front of screens has had an impact on their wellbeing for many years. The popularity of computer games and the emergence of the internet, smartphones, and social media have contributed further to this problem…Play benefits children in helping them to develop socially and emotionally, so promoting active outdoor play would have many benefits in addition to improving physical activity, improving academic attainment, and reducing obesity.””(more)

Parent-Preschooler Interactions Affected by Media Use, Study Says

Education News – Grace Smith

“A new study from the University of Michigan has found that even preschool-aged children are caught up in the electronic device rage. Parents and kids three to five- years-old are not communicating with one another because the young ones are using video games, mobile devices, and television so often. The difference in this study is that instead of relying on self-reporting by parents who were tracking their children’s media time, the scientists tried something different. The researchers used audio equipment to follow preschoolers as they interacted with their parents in 2010 and 2011…The surprising results showed that kids with mothers who had graduate degrees had much less exposure to media than young ones with moms who had only high school diplomas or who had one year of university. Nicholas Waters, the lead author of the study, said that moms who were highly educated were more likely to discuss media use with their kids. The research also found that these mothers had their children watch more education programming on television.”(more)

‘iPad generation’ means nine in 10 toddlers live couch potato lives

The Telegraph – Laura Donnelly

“Just one in ten of the “iPad generation” of toddlers are active enough to be healthy, official Government data shows. Experts said Britain is “in the grip of an inactivity crisis” with two-year-olds spending increasing amounts of time hunched over gadgets, instead of moving about and playing traditional games…Health experts called for radical changes to the habits of today’s toddlers, warning that many were mimicking parents who spend much of their leisure time on tablets and smartphones…Government guidelines recommend that under-fives should undertake at least three hours of physical activity per day, in order to support brain, bone and muscular development, as well as encourage good habits for life. For those aged five to 15, the recommended minimum is one hour of moderately intensive activity a day.”(more)