Screens don’t have to melt our kids’ brains

Melt

Mat Honan’s Are Touchscreens Melting Your Kid’s Brain?1 set off the latest in what has become a recurring tech theme over the past few years:

I’m perpetually distracted, staring into my hand, ignoring the people around me. Hit Refresh and get a reward, monkey. Feed the media and it will nourish you with @replies and Likes until you’re hungry and bleary and up way too late alone in bed, locked in the feedback loop. What will my daughter’s loop look like? I’m afraid to find out.

This has been a difficult topic for me for a long time. In 2012 I wrote an article for Smashing Magazine called A Dad’s Plea To Developers Of iPad Apps For Children, in which I aired some of my frustrations with apps for kids. That piece brought out a lot of anger, including a comment that I’ll never forget:

Wow really? great parents here.. having a kid under 7 stare at a screen, really?? come on!! no kid under 7 should use an iPad for what?? play outside, play with your toys, your friends, read. People who have a 2yr old use an ipad/iphone, shouldn’t have kids in the first place! shame on you

I started writing a passionate reply, explaining our reasoning and the rules my wife and I have for screen time, but I ended up just dropping it. No one has ever changed their opinion based on a comment they read on a blog, so why bother.

Anyway, I digress. I tend to agree with Robert McGinley Myers’ response to Mat’s article. InScreens Aren’t Evil (which you should read in its entirety) he says:

But we need to get beyond worrying about whether “screens” are melting our kids’ brains. What we need to be conscious of is encouraging our kids, and ourselves, to engage in activities that enrich us. Sometimes that’s interacting with each other, sometimes that’s a hike in the forest, sometimes thats a great book, and sometimes that’s an incredible video game. It’s not the medium that matters, but what we take from it.

Now that’s a moderate stance I can get behind. Source : http://www.elezea.com/