Nellie Bowles published three articles in The New York Times on kids and screen time that are worth reading.
A wariness that has been slowly brewing is turning into a regionwide consensus: The benefits of screens as a learning tool are overblown, and the risks for addiction and stunting development seem high. The debate in Silicon Valley now is about how much exposure to phones is O.K.
Even though we are limiting screen time to weekends only, Đạo (nine years old) and Đán (six years old) are quite addictive. Đán is still struggling with turning it off when time is up. He is so fearful of being banned from the iPad; therefore, I am using it as a form of punishment when he misbehaves. I am tired of yelling at him and I don’t want to spank him. The only way he would listen is to ban him from his iPad. It is terrible, but it works for now. On weekends, they get 3 hours the most each day because most of the time we go outside unless I have to do work around the house or the rain prevents us from going outside.
Bowles on “Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids”:
From Cupertino to San Francisco, a growing consensus has emerged that screen time is bad for kids. It follows that these parents are now asking nannies to keep phones, tablets, computers and TVs off and hidden at all times. Some are even producing no-phone contracts, which guarantee zero unauthorized screen exposure, for their nannies to sign.
We need a similar contract with our family as well. When we get together, all digital devices should be put away. Sure, I don’t have to give my kids iPads, but then they would hover around kids that have them. Most of our vacations together always ended up in screen time rather than family time.
Lower-income teenagers spend an average of eight hours and seven minutes a day using screens for entertainment, while higher income peers spend five hours and 42 minutes, according to research by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit media watchdog. (This study counted each screen separately, so a child texting on a phone and watching TV for one hour counted as two hours of screens being used.) Two studies that look at race have found that white children are exposed to screens significantly less than African-American and Hispanic children.
Why didn’t the studies look at Asian children? I am sure Asian kids, Vietnamese in particular, are exposed to screens even more than African-American and Hispanic children.