Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology, and Early Education

2012

The authors of this guide represent three organizations whose missions overlap in a commitment to the wellbeing of children. We share concerns about the escalating misuse and overuse of screen technologies in the lives of even the very young. We recognize the primary importance of nurturing young children’s active and hands-on creative play, time with nature, and their face-to-face interactions with caring adults and other children. We see how screen time can interfere with these and other essentials of early childhood.

Each of us has worked with and for young children for decades. Our combined experience includes preschool teaching and preschool management, teacher education, and helping children through play therapy. We each have worked intensively to mitigate the harmful effects of screen media on young children. That said, we are by no means technophobes. Collectively we tweet, text, blog, Skype, and enjoy new technologies in all sorts of ways. Our backgrounds include creating, and performing in, media programs for young children and consulting on their content; helping teachers grapple with the impact of media on children in their classrooms; and working extensively with families struggling with screen time issues.

Based on mounting evidence, we are worried about the harm done to children’s health, development, and learning in today’s media-saturated, commercially-driven culture. It’s clear that both the nature of what children encounter on screens and the amount of time they spend with screens are vital issues. We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics and other public health organizations that many young children are spending too much time with screens—and that screen time should be discouraged for infants and toddlers, and carefully limited for older children.

In the interests of children’s wellbeing, we believe the early childhood community needs to study the issues surrounding screen technologies, make informed decisions about their use in classrooms and child care settings, and work with parents to manage screen time and content in ways that best serve young children.

Source: Alliance for Childhood

Available at: http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files/file/FacingtheScreenDilemma.pdf

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