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What You Need To Know About Kids’ Screen Time Right Now

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“Our latest NPR Ed video takes on that question so many parents are asking: How much time should my kid spend looking at phones and screens and tablets and TVs and …In a nutshell (and inspired by food writer Michael Pollan), my advice is: “Enjoy screens. Not too much. Mostly together.” This comes from my reporting on the latest research on family media use, and it’s one of the major takeaways from The Art of Screen Time. This video is our guide to finding that balance: limiting screen time and getting the most benefit from it.” (more)

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)

5 Things To Know About Screen Time Right Now

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“After another round of holidays, it’s safe to assume, a lot of children have been diving into more media use than usual. Some may now have new electronic toys and gadgets, or have downloaded new apps and games. Managing all that bleeping and buzzing activity causes anxiety in many parents. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest research, combined with some of our previous reporting, to help guide your decision-making around family screen use.”(more)

Magid: What parents need to know about Facebook Messenger Kids

The Mercury News – Larry Magid

“In 2011, Consumer Reports released research saying that 7.5 million children under 13 were using Facebook in violation of the company’s terms of service that require all users to be 13 or older. Later that year, a research team led by danah boyd (she spells her name all lowercase) found that 95 percent of the parents whose 10-year-olds were on Facebook knew about it, and 78 percent of them helped their kids sign up. I haven’t seen recent research showing how many pre-teens are using Instagram, Snapcat, Facebook Messenger, Kik and other apps aimed at teens and adults, but I suspect the numbers are into the millions.”(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)

Sleep Well, Learn Well

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

While there may be some debate about the “wealthy” claim, recent research suggests Franklin was correct about the “healthy and wise” assertions.

Lack of sleep can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition, researchers now believe that the quantity and quality of sleep impacts memory and learning. It is well known that a sleep-deprived person cannot focus well and therefore cannot absorb and process information efficiently. The new finding is that information must be consolidated into a memory during sleep.

Scientists break learning and memory into three basic components: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. Acquisition is the introduction of new information into the brain. Consolidation is the process of making a memory stable and recall is the ability to access the information later. Acquisition and recall occur during waking hours and memory consolidation takes place during periods of sleep.

Although we do not know for sure how sleep makes consolidation possible, researchers believe that the brainwaves of different types that occur during sleep are what form lasting memories.

Since consolidation is imperative for memory, one of the most important things a parent can do for his/her child is make sure he/she gets adequate sleep.

Here are a few things that can be done to increase the odds your child is getting adequate sleep:

  •    Reduce screen time – Some research suggests that the light emitted from electronic devices increases     alertness  and keeps children from sleeping well. Establish a device free period before bed.
  •    Offer the right food – Whole foods that combine protein and complex carbohydrates are the best before bed snacks.
  •    Encourage exercise – At least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week improves sleep.
  •    Control the environment – Consistent temperature and a clean environment support high quality sleep.
  •    Unplug electronic devices – Electrical fields given off by appliances (TVs, cellphones, etc.) can interfere with melatonin secretion. Even if devices are off they emit electrical fields, so it is best to unplug them.
  •    Eliminate light – Light can affect immune system function and sleep, so it is best to reduce light in the bedroom.
  •    Establish a routine – Establish a pre-bed routine so your child is in bed on time.

Perhaps a few extra hours of sleep each night is a better way to ensure amazing childhood memories than a camera.