The Screen Aware Early Childhood Kit is a game changer for caregivers of young children who’ve lacked the words and wherewithal to talk with daycares, schools, babysitters, and relatives about the role of screens.
It’s so satisfying to have the right tool for the right job. A flathead won’t do when you need a phillips screwdriver. Plyers are different from a wrench.
But since the arrival of digital devices, parents have had precious few tools to work with. They quickly learned, for instance, there’s no lunchbox to contain social media.
Now comes a fact-filled fleet of info products to help caregivers manage screen use by and around children from birth until at least age 8. The toolkit arrives just as alarming new evidence floods in about how screen use can harm babies, toddlers, and young children.
The kit’s 10 research-backed fact-and-action sheets not only give parents a hand, but teachers, schools, and daycare providers, too.
Meeting Children’s Real Needs
Fact Sheet 1 answers to basic question “What do young children need?”
Putting warning labels on social media is among strategies to better protect child users being discussed by a U.S. Senate committee.
At the hearing “Protecting Our Children Online,” witnesses called by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary described a digital environment replete with social media harms. They also discussed ways for Congress to act.
Parent Nightmares Continue
Especially with the arrival of ChatGPT and other artificially intelligent helpers, if you want to be a durable human, you need to know how you differ from machines.
For starters, you are completely one-of-a-kind, whereas machines can be duplicated endlessly. You’re also a powerhouse of resources, starting with your masterful palette of senses. Sure, that’s the Famous Five, but also intuition, compassion, humor, and muscle memory, to name just a few. Children embody the all-important sense of wonder. (Read more in The Durable Human Manifesto)
Unlike what can be the seesaw of resilient, if you are durable, you are consistently active and effective for as long as possible.
Being a fully expressed “Durable Human” is an ideal. Like playing golf, you never quite reach perfection. But my dad came close.
A Mind of His Own
Consider how he lived just one day we were together in October 2022. He was 98 ¾ years old. It would have been the 75th anniversary of marrying my mom, who had passed away 10 years before.
As he did first thing each morning, my dad read two newspapers. Later, he’d watch the evening news and often recorded other news, information, or entertainment shows to view at his convenience.
Sometimes he was troubled by what he read or saw, but he had a neat trick for staying on the bright side.
Stress in the household was a main reason why many children developed problematic media use during the height of the pandemic. Household screen rules had little effect on media usage, according to new research.
Emily Kroshus had three children under age 6 at the time of the pandemic lockdowns. She remembers how she coped with online work meetings. “I would turn to screens.” And not to co-view and discuss content with her children. “It’s more like: ‘please, can I hypnotize you for an hour?’”
“I’m not proud of that,” the child behavioral researcher recalls. “And I don’t think I’m alone.”
Curiosity prompted Kroshus and her lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute to survey other parents in the fall of 2020. A diverse group of 1,000 American families responded, each with at least one child between the age of 6 and 17.
According to the survey results published in the journal Pediatrics, one in three children displayed “problematic media use,” which Kroshus describes as “the child is unwilling or unable to stop using media.”
About one in three households had rules around media use, such as keeping devices out of the bedroom at night and not bringing screens to meals. But did those rules prevent problematic use of phones, laptops and computers? Continue reading