Our Children and Electronic Devices

July 7, 2015 08:45 PM

Would it surprise you to learn that the average 8-10 year old spends up to 8 hours a day on electronic media? Or that older children and teens spend more than 11 hours a day? It’s true, according to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Time spent with electronic media including TV, computers, tablets, cell phones, and hand-held games adds up quickly. Most parents have handed over a tablet on a long drive or a cell phone while waiting for a restaurant meal and there’s no harm in that. Electronic devices have brought enormous benefits in learning opportunities to our children. However, these devices can also bring challenges.

Studies show that hours spent in front of a screen deprive kids of the social interaction critical to their development. Moreover, according to the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, children who see a large amount of simulated violence can actually become less empathetic towards others and are more prone to act out violently.

But here’s the really scary part – two-thirds of children in the Kaiser Family Foundation study said that their parents had made NO rules about how much electronic time was too much. The answer isn’t simple and blanket pronouncements are useless. As parents, each of us must make a commitment to be vigilant and make sure that our children’s electronic devices are used for our kids’ benefit, not their detriment.

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