Think twice before limiting screentime

2/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
The American Academy of Pediatrics AAP recommends limiting a child's screentime to no more than one or two hours a day because, they say too much screen time has been linked to the following issues: Obesity. Irregular sleep (see #7). Behavioral problems. Impaired academic performance. Violence. Less time for play. This begs the questions:
How much does this century-old academy really know about screentime?
Why don’t they address the research that supports that sitting in school all day leads to these problems as well? 
If the AAP really wanted to help address these issues, instead of focusing on parents and screens, they’d be making recommendations to schools.

Rather than scapegoating screentime, why not focus on empowering young people to make smart decisions about what they should be doing to combat these issues? Afterall, the reality is that a screen can be a window to enabling students to reach the personal goals they will need for success in the world. Why would we want to limit that?

We never hear that we need to limit book, paper, pen, or calculator time...all tools that reside inside screens. Yet, it is via screens that we can read, write, calculate, code, create, publish for/with real audiences and connect with others who share our passions, talents, and interests. It is via screens that people have access to learning whatever they want whenever they want.

We’ve learned from students like Travis Allen and Nick Perez that limiting screens in school is keeping them prisoners of their teacher’s past. Such restrictions shouldn’t be imposed at home as well. It’s time to stop putting blanket limits on children and start giving them the freedom to learn and live with the tools and support that best help them reach their dreams.

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

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