Monday, November 27, 2017

The Digital Media Diet: Differing Types of Entertainment Screen Time

Source. Used with permission.
Recently I was interviewed for an article on screen time called The Digital Media Diet: Nutritious Vs. Junk Food Screen Time. In this article, the author creatively uses the food pyramid as an analogy to help us realize there are different categories of entertainment screen time. Just as there are different food groups with varying levels of nutritional value and recommended daily servings, so too are there differing levels of screen time and amounts that should be "consumed." Some foods like fruits and vegetables (or screens used for education, collaboration, creation, and organization) are better for us than other foods such as sugary snacks or junk food (mindless video games or passive movie watching). I love the analogy and think it is a helpful one to point out to both students and adults. 

As I stated in the article, I'd rather have my kids socializing with friends through technology or playing multiplayer video games than spending time watching movies or playing video games alone. I realize there are times when screen time won't be productive or seem to have any redeeming value. As parents and educators, we can help kids realize the need to not overindulge in this type of entertainment screen time, just as we work to help them understand why we can't eat candy all the time. We want to raise kids to have a healthy balance in their use of technology, and understanding the different types and values of entertainment screen time is a great skill to teach kids.

It's been over two years since the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their screen time recommendations, encouraging parents to consider the content on the screen itself before deciding whether or not there should be any time limits. The AAP recommends limiting recreational/entertainment screen time to one to two hours per day for children over age two (source). There is no screen time limit for educational content and use. Read more about The Difference Between Educational & Entertainment Screen Time in a previous post. 

FYI, the article was written on behalf of Forcefield, a company that created a parenting Apple App to help manage kid's phones. It soon will be available in Android. I plan to try it out in a few months when it will be available as a VPN like Curbi.

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