Monday, October 10, 2011

Computer Use vs Television Viewing in Toddlers

I'm a parent now, and even before I had kids I was always lecturing everyone around on how horrible television was for kids--especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The eye-rolls and clearing of the throats did not stop me, I kept on talking about statistics like:

Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000

Now that I have a bouncing baby boy, I still have yet to change my mind. I do have friends whose babies are watching crap like Yo Gabba Gabba (I know, I'm inviting a storm of protests here). I read the chapter in Nurture Shock that explains that so-called Educational Programming actually teaches bullying in a more subtle and hurtful kind of way! Go sell crazy somewhere else, I tell them. We don't watch television at all and will not do so, even for a little, until he is two years old. And then, I'm still not sure. However, that doesn't mean that I eschew all technology. In fact, my 10 month old is already becoming adept at using my iPhone. We have several apps on there just for him. Things like Koi PondPeekaboo Barn and Doodle Kids. He will have an iPad for his 1 year birthday present.

So, how do I justify allowing "screen time" of that nature? Well, I think it's about interactivity. He is not the passive viewer in this case. He is active, controls what he sees and for how long. He is not subject to advertisements or violence or sex. I think touch-screen "screen time" is a whole different world than Web 1.0 one-way passivity. There isn't a whole lot of research that differentiates for this new medium, but I am really looking forward to seeing it. I predict it will show very different results.  


Heather said...

Apropos - "how much is too much" blog on Mind Leap

Alecia Berman-Dry said...

Thanks for the link, Heather!