Parents are increasingly concerned about their kids’ online viewing habits and are struggling to mediate their media use. A report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 74% toddlers and infants watch TV before they turn 2. With on-demand services, 24/7 kids’ channels and YouTube Kids, there’s constant access to media targeted specifically for young children.
Studies show that some of the major concerns that parents have with increased media usage is screen time and lack of control over what their kids watch, especially since the surge of personal devices like tablets. In a world where kids are “growing up digital,” parents are finding it hard to mediate kids’ media use and trust them to exercise their own judgment. While platform providers and media corporations also share a responsibility of protecting kids from harmful content, this blog post focuses on the role that parents can play to ensure their children are protected.
Limit Screen Time
While educational TV and well-designed interactive shows can teach children math, science, problem solving and literacy, it’s crucial to limit screen time to no more than two hours for kids over the age of 2. Studies show that children who used screens for longer periods on a daily basis showed lower structural integrity in their brains, particularly in the parts that support language and literacy skills.
Don’t hand over tablets and phones to children when they’re in their bedrooms; turn the TV off when your kids are doing their homework or eating food and encourage tech-free playtime with puzzles, toys, books and board games.
Enforce rules for TV viewing; it’s all about finding the right balance between screen time, physical activities and playtime conversations.
Choose Programming Carefully
If you want your children to really learn and benefit from TV watching, choose programs that encourage or incorporate the following:
- Participation and interaction: Shows that include long pauses, allowing kids to respond to questions.
- Straight-line storytelling: Shows that take children from point A to B without flashbacks.
- Labeling: Shows that discuss and elaborate whatever is present on the screen.
- Nonviolent content.
A note on nonviolence: Disney productions or G-rated movies that sneak in “funny” on-screen violence—where a cartoon gets hit in the head and the head pops right back up—is basically violence without consequence. Experts believe that these shows are harmful since young children aren’t able to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Digital devices and media are integral parts our lives and the benefits of media usage, when used in moderation, can be great. However, face-to-face family time, interactions with other kids and teachers also play a pivotal role in promoting your child’s healthy development.
Therefore, Whole Child Development Center, a leading child daycare center in Lenexa, Kansas, focuses on interactive learning by combining indoor and outdoor activities to stimulate your child’s mind. The child care center offers infant care to elementary school education up to the 6th grade.
Schedule a tour or get in touch with them here!