On Thursday May 3, 2018 we enjoyed facilitating a conversation with parents about their experience with screens and kids. This event was part of our week-long Screen Free Week experiences at Cuba High School. Our parent panel consisted of Jackie Scharping, Samantha Gilham, Tiffany Clark, and Amy Willett.
The panel was moderated by high school senior, Ms. Alexis Clark and high school history teacher, Mr. Joe Brewer.
Our conversation was not only helpful, but hilarious (we didn’t anticipate how much fun we had)! We appreciate our parents for their willingness to participate and willingness to be vulnerable about their experiences with media, screens and raising kids.
Below you will find some helpful apps, resources and links mentioned in our conversation as well as a transcript of information and questions from our moderators.
*Common Sense Media: Tips and Suggestions for Parents Concerning Screen Regulations
- For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
- Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
- Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Moderator Questions and Info Shared
- The fact is, screen time seems to be taking over childhood. One estimate puts combined exposure at an incredible 7.5 hours a day for kids ages 8-18. Surveys show that 72 percent of children go to bed at night in a room with at least one type of screen at their disposal
- QUESTION #1: Please introduce yourself and share what technology innovation made the most impact on your life?
- Study after study suggests that excessive screen time is associated with various negative outcomes. Topping the list: obesity, poor academic performance, aggressive behaviors, attention problems, lack of social skills, and inadequate sleep. Having electronics in the bedroom, including television or a cell phone, may rob a child of an hour of much-needed sleep a night. Too much media time potentially displaces other healthy pursuits including physical, social, creative or academic activities.
- QUESTION #2: What do you find are the biggest challenges to monitoring your kids’ screen time?
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA), they recommend children under 1.5-2 years old don’t consume any media. Children in preschool should consume only up to an 1 hour a day of high-quality programing like Sesame Street. And Grade schoolers to teens to be sure to have 1 hour of exercise, have media-free meals, “unplugged” down-time, and a full night’s sleep.
- QUESTION #3: What do you think about the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines? Why do — or why don’t — they seem appropriate?
- QUESTION #4: Does the quality of the content or the type of screen-time activity change the conversation? If so, how?
- Recent research shows that parental guidance around media does work. A study which involved more than 1,300 third- and fourth-graders, demonstrated that “parental monitoring of media has protective effects on a wide range of academic, social, and physical child outcomes.”
- QUESTION #5: How do you monitor screen time at your home? What about other settings?
- QUESTION #6: Do you think screen-time rules should be different for older versus younger kids? How might you change your parenting approach as your kids get older?