The average household has an average of 7.3 screens, according to a recent study by ReportLinker. Psychology experts have yet to reach a consensus on whether this trend is helping or harming children, especially those younger than 10 years old. TVs are usually the first screen many children will experience; the study found that out of 670 respondents in the general US population, 93 percent said they owned at least one TV. Following shortly behind are smartphones and laptops, with 79 percent of respondents claiming to have at least one smartphone in the home and 78 percent claiming at least one laptop.
Parents who participated in the survey claim most of their children's interaction with screens happens during the children's spare time. This includes watching TV, playing video games, browsing Facebook on their smartphone, or streaming Netflix on a tablet. 53 percent of parents say they limit their children's usage to less than two hours per day, while 15 percent allow more than five hours of usage. But how do parents view technology's effects on children? 75 percent of parents say their opinion of technology is overall positive, with one-fourth saying children should be used to electronics in the 21st century. Out of those that responded negatively, 14 percent said technology ruins the essence of childhood.
This fear might not be completely unfound; a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revealed that roughly one-third of children younger than 2 years old have had some form of contact with mobile devices. The AAP discourages parents from letting their toddlers stare at screens, especially phones and tablets.
With that said, developing technological proficiency at a young age (older than two, obviously) can have some major benefits; Google and the American Library Association recently teamed up to provide local libraries access to Google's extensive coding materials. The goal of the project, named Libraries Ready to Code, is to make coding resources readily available to local communities and children. With computer coding skills in increasing demand in today's job market and for the foreseeable future, programs like Libraries Ready to Code only look to benefit today's youth.