By Dr. Joshua Straub
• Increased Inattention: Why Mister Rogers is Smarter than Baby Einstein
• Decreased Creativity: Why Smart Parents Have Bored Children
• Increased Self-Centeredness / Decreased Empathy: Is Technology Harmful to our Kids? What Parents Need to Know
• Increased Anxiety and Depression: The Powerful Influence of Secondhand Screen Time on a Child’s Brain: What Parents Need to Know
• Decreased Impulse Control: 4 Ways to Use Screen Time to Your Kids’ Advantage
1 “For children younger than two years… adult interaction with the child during media use is crucial, and there continues to be evidence of harm from excessive digital media use.”
2 “Unfortunately, most apps parents find under the “educational” category in app stores have no such evidence of efficacy, target only rote academic skills, are not based on established curricula, and use little or no input from developmental specialists or educators.”
3 “It is important to emphasize to parents that the higher-order thinking skills… essential for school success, such as task persistence, impulse control, emotion regulation, and creative, flexible thinking, are best taught through unstructured and social (not digital) play, as well as responsive parent–child interactions.”
For children younger than 18 months: avoid all use of screen media other than video-chatting.
For children 18-24 months: introduce digital media to your children with only “high-quality” programming, and watch it with them to help them understand it.
For children ages 2 to 5 years: limit screen use to one hour per day of high-quality programs. Co-view media with your children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
For children ages 6 and older: place consistent limits on the time and types of media. Make sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
Designate media-free times together: such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Have ongoing communication: about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and Christi and I have developed the Screen-Balanced Family course for these very reasons. If you’re not sure where to begin, be sure to check out the workbook and video series. We walk families through what limits to set, how to have the conversation with your kids, and how to establish an ongoing Family Media Agreement.
“It often works,” he says, “but think about what’s being displaced there—what they need is a hug, not an iPhone.”
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Connect With Dr. Joshua Straub
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, family advocate and professor of child psychology. He is the president and cofounder of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower parents, spouses and families. Josh speaks and writes on emotionally safe parents and spouses and the influence of technology on today's family. He is the author of Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well and along with his wife, Christi, is the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.
Josh and his Canadian wife Christi reside in Nashville, TN with their son, Landon, and daughter, Kennedy.
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