Posts Tagged ‘ media exposure ’

Too Much Screen Time Can Decrease Kids’ Ability to Read Emotional Cues

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Kids Who Use Technology Less Can Read Emotional Cues BetterThe amount of screen time you allow your kids can be a point of tension in many households. A new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that increased digital use may actually affect pre-teens’ ability to read and interpret people’s nonverbal emotional and social cues.

According to The Los Angeles Times, two groups of children were given two tests, a pre- and a post-experiment test that asked them to decipher the emotions of people shown in photographs and videos. Afterwards, one group continued with their normal plugged-in lifestyle, while the other group spent five days outdoors with peers at a wilderness camp where all electronics (cellphones, televisions, and computers) were banned.

Researchers found that the kids who spent time away from technology scored better on their post-experience test, while those who didn’t scored about the same. This finding underscores the worry that many parents have about the negative impact of prolonged exposure to digital media. “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education, and not many are looking at the costs,” said Patricia Greenfield, a senior author of the study from UCLA. “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues — losing the ability to understand the emotions of other people — is one of the costs. The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen interaction seems to be reducing social skills.”

But the good news is that it only took the kids who attended camp a short amount of time improve their emotional recognition ability. And this new piece of research gives the evidence you need to get kids to turn off technology — at least for a few more hours — and interact with friends and family. “The main thing I hope people take away from this is that it is really important for children to have time for face-to-face socializing,” said Yalda Uhls, another author of the study and a Southern California regional director for Common Sense Media,

Would you ever consider asking your family to give up technology? Our Homeschool Den blogger is doing just that this week!

Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology

Plus: If you’re hesitant about how to introduce technology to your little one, we’ll show you how with these media-minding tips.

Photo of children courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Study: Kids’ Screen Time at an All-Time High

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

A new study by a San Francisco non-profit organization has found that kids are spending more time than ever in front of television, tablet, computer, and smartphone screens.  This is despite longstanding advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that screen time be severely limited, if not avoided, before age 2.

Common Sense Media, the organization that conducted the survey of more than 1,300 parents, found that half of all children under age 8 had access to a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile media device.  About half of kids under age 2 watch some television or DVDs every day, and those who do spend an average of 2 hours in front of the screen.  And almost one-third of kids under 2 have televisions in their bedrooms, which is something the AAP specifically recommends against.

“It’s the beginning of an important shift, as parents increasingly are handing their iPhones to their 1 ½-year-old kid as a shut-up toy. And parents who check their e-mail three times on the way to the bus stop are constantly modeling that behavior, so it’s only natural the kids want to use mobile devices too,” James Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, told The New York Times.

The study found significant differences across socioeconomic lines, with more children (64 percent) under 8 having televisions in their rooms if their family income is under $30,000.  Twenty percent of kids that age have televisions in their rooms in families with incomes above $75,000.

The study also noted that only 14 percent of respondents said their pediatricians had discussed media use with them.

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American Academy of Pediatrics: Limit TV for Babies Under 2

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Television and other media exposure has no educational or developmental benefits for children under age 2, and in fact it has been associated with negative health issues including obesity, poor attention, and sleep issues.  These are the main findings of a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), released this week at the group’s annual meeting in Boston.

The AAP had recommended in 1999 that parents all but ban television exposure for their babies. This report is meant to clarify and update that recommendation, urging parents to minimize media exposure because, among other reason, time spent in front of the screen is time not spent doing educational, family, or imaginative activities that babies need to develop.

Among the specific recommendations from the AAP:

  • Do not place a television in your child’s bedroom.
  • Refrain from watching adult-oriented television while young children are in the room.  This has been shown to distract parents, even if the program is “background noise” to the child.
  • If a young child is watching television, parents should monitor the programming and watch with the child whenever possible.

The recommendations also urge pediatricians to discuss media use, and encourage “media limits” before age 2, at well visits.

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