Growing Up Mobile
New research shows an increase in the amount of time children are spending online and on mobile devices. Experts now suggest creating a "Media Use Plan" with your family for responsible viewing.
Common Sense Media has just released new research on children’s media use in 2013, and the results may surprise you. In the two years since the study was last conducted, media viewed—specifically on mobile devices—has grown considerably. Here are a few important stats:
- 3/4 of all kids have access to a mobile device at home.
- The number of kids who’ve used a mobile device has nearly doubled.
- Average daily use has grown from 5 minutes to 15 minutes daily.
- In 2011, 10% of kids under age 2 had used a mobile device. In 2013, that number reached 38%.
Point being, mobile screen time is on the rise with no end in sight. Healthy Children, a parenting website backed by pediatricians, suggests creating a “Media Use Plan” for your family and has shared some helpful tips in accomplishing that goal (hint hint: limit entertainment to less than one or two hours per day).
First, consider ALL types of media and their locations, from the television to your smart phone. Set up a “media curfew” time, when all devices have to be either turned off or plugged into their charging stations. And we all know this one, but it’s good to have a reminder: Healthy Children notes that televisions should be kept OUT of children’s bedrooms. For children age 2 and under, let unstructured play, creativity and problem solving be the focus of your child’s developing brain. And on that note, when you are allowing your child to watch TV, consider programming that is educational and teaches good values and interpersonal skills.
And while I agree with all of this wholeheartedly, I must admit I don’t have a problem with a little Sesame Street while mama is trying to take a shower. Or handing my phone to a screaming toddler in the middle of Aisle 6 at the grocery store. Everything in moderation, right? In raising little digital citizens of the world, I think it’s important to teach children the wonders of technology, but at the same time to hold the reins tight as they grow.
After all, with the rise of cyber-bullying and “sexting,” well, it’s enough to make a parent want to jump into an episode of Sesame Street and stay there.
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