The following letter was submitted by Alan and published in the West Sacramento News-Ledger on May 6, 2015, and in the Georgetown Gazette on May 7, 2015:
National Screen-Free Week is May 4-10. Going screen-free for one week is a good start, but parents need to set regular limits on electronic screens for the sake of their children’s overall health. The American Academy of Pediatrics says no amount of screen-time should be allowed for children under the age of two, and children aged 3-18 should have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen-time per day. Why? Screens are stealing children’s lives! The average child spends nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen compared to just twelve minutes a day of unstructured, outdoor play. And if the vast amount of time spent with screens doesn’t concern you, 99.5% of the nearly 4,000 studies on violence related to screen-time show a directly proportional link to aggressive behavior in children. Also, the more TV a child watches the more likely s/he is to fall victim to obesity and diabetes, and for each hour a preschooler watches television s/he is 10% more likely to exhibit symptoms of attention-deficit-disorder.
Parents who set limits on children’s screen-time understand the dangers. For parents that allow limitless access to videogames and television, consider what Steve Jobs said when asked what his children thought of the I-pad: “They haven’t used it,” he said. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” And Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and chief executive of 3D Robotics, instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. “My kids accuse me and my wife of being overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” he said of his five children, 6 to 17. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself; I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.” For more, check out: www.allianceforchildhood.org and www.commercialfreechildhood.org
Mindful Media Management