This past week I listened to New Research On Teens, Toddlers and Mobile Devices, an engaging radio program about digital parenting on The Diane Rehm Show (NPR). In early November 2015 Rehm featured four expert guests who thoughtfully examined the digital parenting issues that adults should consider when it comes to digital media and children. It was rebroadcast in December 2015.
The program appeared to be timed to highlight a recently released report, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens (2015). Educators and parents will learn a lot by listening to this broadcast or reading the transcript and by checking out the program’s resource links.
A new year—with new devices and new considerations about rules and limitation—is a good time to listen to experts who can help adults think more carefully about how to define screen time and discuss the research (and the need for much more). This program can help adults guide children whose 21st Century lives are increasingly defined by digital activities.
Screens are so ubiquitous in our world that decisions about family members’ screen time need to be made on the basis of a range of factors. Setting limits is important, but a one-size-fits-all definition of screen time is not a useful concept for most parents and families in today’s connected world.
- Dr. Michael Rich, (A.K.A. The Mediatrician) who heads of the Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Harvard University and Children’s Hospital in Boston. CMCH tip sheets help adults learn more about age-appropriate expectations for young people growing up in today’s digital world, and perhaps more importantly, what’s not appropriate.
- Lisa Guernsey, the author of recently published Tap, Click, Read (2015), a book that aims to guide educators and parents who want to help their kids “…grow into strong, passionate readers using media of all kinds—print, digital, and everything in between.” Guernsey is the Deputy Director of the Education Policy Program at the New American Foundation;
- James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, which recently issued the report. The Common Sense Media website is a destination for parents who need to learn more about the digital world where their kids live, learn, and breathe. A favorite Common Sense resource that I’ve used with kids again and again is this how to decide what to share handout.
- Rachel Barr, is an associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University and one of the authors of Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight, Research Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under Three Years Old, published by the Zero to Three organization.
This recorded radio program recording contains interesting and useful digital parenting information, that it’s well worth making the time to listen to the entire interview.
Dr. Michael Rich
- Kids hear about one percent of what we say, but hear 100 percent of what we do.
- We as a society have not created long-term research to understand what is happening…
- …to be alarmist and wring our hands about how much time, doesn’t get us deeply into the questions of those kinds of social interactions and what children are interested in, curious about, how they may want to go and explore new things because of what they’ve seen.
- We know from the research on how children learn language skills and how they eventually learn to read is that they need a much deeper and rich conversation around, really, interesting and engaging content.
- Two-thirds of them [kids surveyed] say they multitask doing homework.
- …we’re conducting the biggest experiment on our children’s lives in any of our lifetimes, with virtually no research.
- …just as multitasking is distracting to teens and tweens, what we’re finding is that background television is also very distracting to toddlers.
- …if the television is on and the baby is playing in the corner and it makes no sense to the child, every now and then the child will look up to see.