Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let your Kids play, ration the electronic stuff!

I have just read a report from the American Academy of Paediatrics, and one of the facts nearly knocked me off my chair. In a recent survey they performed, 90% of children under 2yrs watched some form of electronic media: OK I can understand that the TV may be on in the house and sometimes it is a useful distraction to sit them in front of a screen whilst you go to the "rest room". But then it reported that by aged 3, almost one third of children have a TV in their bedroom!!! I have to admit to being still stunned by this fact! What are we doing to our children?

I think that AAP must be thinking along the same lines because they too don't think that children under 2 should be watching TV either, as the developing brain needs more than an electronic screen to help it learn and problem solve. Here's a list of their suggestions:
  • Set media limits for children before age 2, bearing in mind that the AAP discourages media use for this age group. Have a strategy for managing electronic media if they choose to engage their children with it.
  • Instead of screens, opt for supervised independent play for infants and young children during times that a parent cannot sit down and actively engage in play with the child. For example, have the child play with nesting cups on the floor nearby while a parent prepares dinner.
  • Avoid placing a television set in the child's bedroom.
  • Recognize that their own media use can have a negative effect on children.
My advice would echo to the sound of TVs crashing to the ground having been ejected through windows! But although there is a tendency to 21st century Luddite-ism in my reaction, I have to admit that the electronic media does have just a few tiny benefits, although they pale into insignificance when compared to the  unstructured playtime and interacting with family members that helps the developing child understand and thrive in their small worlds.
Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.

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