Screen Time That’s Valuable For Young Kids

By on August 20, 2014

Most people agree that implementing game-based learning makes sense for older students, but what about really young kids? Do screens have a place in early childhood education? How young is too young for screen time? If you have small children, you know that this is a hot topic among new parents. Some moms and dads believe that screen time will ruin their children. Others see tablets as an exceptional parenting gadget, a tool that can teach, distract, and educate.

The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children younger than two years old have no screen time at all. Infants probably get more than enough screen time already, just being pushed in a stroller through the electronics aisle at Target or peaking over their parents’ shoulders. For older kids, AAP suggests one to two hours per day of electronic media. In addition, the AAP encourages parents to “establish ‘screen-free’ zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner.”

But reducing the issue to an on/off switch oversimplifies things. When we understand the question of electronic media in such a polarized way, we are caught in the same way of thinking that can make screen time problematic. Tablets become like junk food, imagined as a temptation that children gravitate to but need to be protected from. On the contrary, it is only when electronic media is used to occupy children — like a babysitter that provides parents or teachers with an hour or two of peace and quiet — that justifying its use becomes more complicated.

Click here to read this article from KQED’s MindShift that explores types of screen time that is good for young children.

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