For many of us parents in this digital age, we fight a gruelling battle with our children over screen time which often leads to outburts and fits of uncontrollable hysteria. The goalposts of how much screen time to allow constantly change. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of one hour of “high-quality programming” for children under 6 and thereafter encourages parents to “place consistent limits on the time spent using media”.
However, The Oxford Internet Institute and Cardiff University performed a study of 20,000 parents which determined that there was no correlation between limiting device use and children’s wellbeing. Dr Andrew Pryzbylski, who led the study, said:
“Our findings suggest the broader family context, how parents set rules about digital screen time, and if they’re actively engaged in exploring the digital world together, are more important than the raw screen time.”
Another study by the University of Michigan on people aged four to 11 similarly found that “how children use the devices, not how much time they spend on them, is the strongest predictor of emotional or social problems connected with screen addiction”. But the authors said that concern over a child’s screen use is warranted when it leads to poor behaviour, loss of interest in other activities, family or social life, withdrawal, or deception.
So the issue is not predominantly how much time our children spend on screens, but what they are using them for and in what social context. For example, a child who plays an interactive learning game on a tablet whilst sat beside their parents is more likely to engage in conversation with their parents thus improving family relationships in the long run. Whereas, a child playing video games, alone in their room, is more likely to pass up on healthier activities such as exercise, outdoor experiences and activites in social groups thus inhibiting important life experiences.
So, if the benefits of screen time lie in the 'whats' and 'who's' does reading a book on an eReader count just as beneficial as reading a physical paper book? Jordan Shapiro wrote for Forbes:
"most studies show that the text delivery method is irrelevant. Good reading behavior has nothing to do with technology. E-readers, tablets, laptop screens are all capable of delivering long-form text. Books have nothing to do with paper. In fact, electronic devices only increase access to books."
To sum up, parents should use their discretion when setting the length of screen time with their children (everything in moderation) based on how old they are and what they are using the screens for. Use in family situations has shown to be more beneficial than solo use and reading on a eReader is just as good as a paper book and even opens up the accessibility of literature to children.
Our Street Book's Top 5 eBooks for 7 Years and Above
Emajen by Ashley Ledigo
Two children undertake an epic journey across three amazing worlds to defeat the tyrannical Crevitos.
Emajen is a world, similar to Earth. Doodland is a world where all the sketches that human beings doodle spring to life. Crevitos is a cruel and beautiful Creation, with multi-world domination and devastation in mind. Two youngsters from Earth, Destiny and Anthony, become embroiled in a complex expedition to save Emajen.
The Firebird Chronicles - Rise of the Shadow Stealers by Daniel Ingram-Brown
Things are going missing. Can Fletcher and Scoop unearth their own lost history and save the Storyteller's treasure from the shadows?
In this fantasy adventure, Fletcher and Scoop are Apprentice Adventurers from the ancient est
It's the first day of term, but the two apprentices soon realise something is wrong. Things are going missing, including their own memories, and Scoop has the unsettling feeling that something is creeping in the shadows.
As the children search for answers, they become entangled with the life of the Storyteller, the islands creator and king. They journey to his wedding banquet and find themselves uncovering a hidden past. What is their connection to this mysterious man? And is there more to him than meets the eye?
Ghost Boy by Stafford Betty
A teenage boy must confront his unusual gift for seeing people that no one else can see...
Seventh grader Ben Conover sees people no one else can see. When he confides in his best friend, it's not long before smart phones start lighting up with text messages as the air cackles with gossip and he becomes known in school as the 'Ghost Boy'.
Home has become a battle ground between his Mum's acceptance and his Dad's disapproval. Ben desperately seeks his father's approval, and wants to be like a regular twelve-year-old. But he doesn't want to break free from his spirit friend, Abby, who shows up when he is in danger or about to do something wrong. She somehow guides him and he has grown very fond of her.
Will Ben's father accept his son's psychic gifts? Can he persuade his father that spirits are real and not just hallucinations? And who exactly is Abby?
May's Moon by S.Y. Palmer
If thirteen-year-old Michael May passes a battery of tests, he could be the first child on the moon!
Beating thousands of others, the geeky boy they call ‘Micky Moon’ at home, is one of ten children from around the world accepted onto the ‘Children’s Moon Program’ in Florida. If he can survive the g-force of a space-shuttle launch, overcome his secret fear of water and pass the other battery of tests, he could win a place on the next mission to the moon!
Melody's Unicorn by Richard Swan
Melody spots a unicorn in London's Oxford Street, and follows it to the Otherworld...
Melody is on a quest to discover her real identity and purpose when she encounters a dryad on Ealing Common! After hearing the dryad's prophecy, Melody's day becomes even stranger when she spots a unicorn in Oxford Street, and follows it into the mysterious Otherworld. Returning to the human world, further adventures finally lead Melody to Tower Bridge and a confrontation with a dragon...
Melody's Unicorn is the first volume in a new children's fantasy trilogy which continues with Melody’s Dragon and Melody’s World.
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