Experts May Start Suggesting Kids Spend More Time With Screens

Pediatricians, educators, and other experts may start recommending children spend more time in front of screens instead of less as part of a wider effort to rethink the manner in which guidelines on kids' media usage are drafted. Instead of categorizing all time spent with display-equipped devices as "exposure," leading professionals in relevant fields are now in the process of differentiating between electronics usage based on the goal of such activities, i.e. not equaling entertainment to education. The American Academy of Pediatrics already started that shift back in late 2016 with its revised recommendations for children's media use and more similar organizations around the world may soon follow suit, some industry watchers speculate.

The guidelines were specifically targeted at serving new suggestions related to children's media use in the context of contemporary gadgets such as smartphones and tablets instead of television sets. The reasoning behind that decision was to draw a line between a medium that offers no interactivity and one that's much more responsive to user input, entailing educational games, apps, interactive books, and similar solutions. While the guidelines don't define certain screen use cases as active and passive, they're effectively differentiating them as such, providing more leniency to the former category and even encouraging it to a degree by acknowledging its potential educational benefits. The end result of the new approach may be advocating for limiting passive exposure to screens while promoting that of the active variety, so long as it's meant to be educational.

In overall, most experts still agree that children who spend hours watching cartoons on YouTube every day should have their screen time cut off, though not because of the very exposure to displays but the fact that doing so to such a large extent isn't beneficial and reduces their opportunities to socialize and be physically active. However, the notion that the very nature of screens is dangerous for the average child who spends a few hours per day in front of them may begin to fade going forward. Experts may also start recommending screen time be incorporated into family activities, e.g. by having parents guide their kids through various educational experiences. Ultimately, passive screen exposure is still a major problem among children in the Western world, according to most relevant studies, but the efforts to combat it are likely to become more targeted moving forward.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]