Discouraging News on the Media Lit Frontier

Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America, p 11

The New York Times has reported on a Common Sense Media (CSM) sponsored study, Zero to Eight, Children’s Media Use in America (PDF). The Times article, Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children, describes the study and points out that kids are in front of a screen more than ever despite the recommendations of their doctors.

After reading this I am feeling a bit more pessimistic than usual. Adults are used to tossing health caution to the wind for themselves, but we were vigilant about protecting the health of our children. Now we seem to  disregard the recommendations of pediatricians — the very people who can help us do the most possible to ensure that our kids grown into strong and productive adults. Are we as a society less and less concerned about the development of strong minds? Times reporter Tamar Lewin writes:

Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ longstanding recommendations to the contrary, children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens…

On the PBS News Hour I listened to James Steyer from CSM and Ari Brown, M.D., representing the American Academy of Pediatrics (and the lead author of their updated media policy) discussing the report, which points out that huge numbers of children have televisions and other screens in their bedrooms, including 30% of children between the ages of zero and one year.

Tomorrow I’ll be attending a meeting for educators, sponsored by Common Sense Media, in the Washington, DC area. I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more about media, raising healthy children, the CSM media report and, of course, more about how to go about changing media behavior in ways that benefit kids’ development.

I hope to get a bit of my glass-half-full optimism back.

Here’s a post I wrote, 5 Tech-free Times for Parentsshortly after reading Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together.

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