Why iPad Screen Time is OK in My House
There is a lot of debate on whether spending time on the iPad constitutes as “screen time.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of daily educational programming for older kids, and none at all for children under the age of two. Brain development for this age shows that this age group has a critical need for “direct interactions with parents and other significant care givers.”
However, ever-changing technology and attitudes toward media use in general are restructuring the landscape. It makes it hard for us parents to keep up and feel like we are doing the “right thing” when it comes to the development of their children.
According to ParentUniversity, there are three types of parenting styles in relation to media and parenting:
1. Media-centric parents (39%) – those who are heavy technology users having over 11 hours of screen media time per day.
2. Media-moderate parents (45%) – those who are moderate technology users having 4 hours and 42 minutes of screen media time per day.
3. Media-light parents (16%) – those who use media much more rarely, an average screen media time of 1 hour and 48 minutes per day.
I am most definitely a “Media-centric parent.” I spend the majority of my day in front of my computer, on my iPhone or using my iPad. My kids see me using these devices to work, read, play games, and research. Being that my children are naturally inquisitive, it makes perfect sense to me that they want to understand these technologies as well.
So, what about all that “screen time” and AAP recommendations? Well, it makes it hard. I think the AAP – even though recommendations were updated in 2011 - are looking at old-fashioned media viewing and haven’t taken into consideration the new technologies available that will speak to that critical “direct interaction with parents.” What if iPad apps are more than “screen time”? What if there are interactive apps that are designed to open up parts of the brain to encourage creativity, family bonding, and helps to teach my kid how to read? Is this wrong?
I don’t think so. I think with an “everything in moderation” rule, and the new educational technologies available, that makes allowing iPad screen time OK in my house.
What is your family’s philosophy on screen time? And, what constitutes screen time in your family?