By Sam Turner
There are many different debates about the use of electronic devices for children. Every now and then a study will come out that states that screen time is bad for your children and it is rotting their brains. But where are these statistics coming from? Most of them are from studies that were conducted before iPads and cell phones and interactive video game systems such as the Wii and the Leap Frog. The data doesn’t show how wonderful some of these systems are for a child’s development. New York City teacher and author of “Teaching Generation Text”, Lisa Nielsen explains further about how new studies would show that this is no longer relevant for this new generation of kids.
Back when we were younger we had video games that were far from educational and television as our screen time. It is those outlets that the American Association of Pediatrics is looking at when they are coming up with their info. They are not looking at what children have now. Any parent can tell you that there are some amazing games and educational apps out there for children that help them to develop educationally and intellectually. There is an app called Dreambox that a lot of schools are using that uses fun games to teach math. The parents and teachers have accounts that are linked uo to the child’s account so that they can see the progress that their child is making and what areas that they may need help on. There are many other apps like this that deal with a variety of different subjects and tools. They are all great for extra homework help or just strengthening the skills that your child is developing either in school or during home-schooling time.
UCLA conducted a study that had half of the students that participated living their normal lives with their electronics and the other half of the students went out for a five day nature trip. The researchers found that he students that were on the nature trip were able to read human emotions better than those using the electronics and immediately blamed screen time. That may not be the cause however because if you are away from all distractions and working closely with people as a team you will be more focused on their needs and emotions. They don’t often get that kind of cooperation and team building when they are in school which means that they don’t need to be as in tune with other people’s feelings as they would if they were out in the woods together.
More studies should be done with the technology that we have in our classrooms and in our homes as the times have definitely changed. The old research was based strictly on television and regular mindless video games as opposed to the advanced technology that we have these days. So the next time that you see a study that makes you feel like you are a bad parent because you let your child play on the iPad too long, take a look at where the data came from first because it most likely does not apply