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Should You Ditch Screen-Time Rules - Carlos Gamino
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Should You Ditch Screen-Time Rules for Your Kids?

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By Carlos Gamino

Some experts are saying it’s time to ditch screen-time rules for kids and embrace parenting “connected” children – but is that really a good idea?

According to Jordan Shapiro, a professor at Temple University and author of The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World, kids need to share screen time with parents.

"One of the things I suggest in the book is that kids should be starting on social media much younger," says Shapiro. He also suggests that parents play more video games with their children. He says that his idea started when he began playing video games with his own kids as a way to connect with them – and then he says he realized his job as a parent was to help his kids make sense of their online experiences. 

In an NPR interview, Shapiro says, “People are trying to do things like device-free dinner because they are scared of the way work and home have enmeshed. Home was safe, and now these devices bring the entire world inside. Are your kids home or are they in Fortnite? They're here and somewhere else — in the ugly agora and within the beautiful picket fence.”

Shapiro says that the key is discussing things with your kids – like why they enjoy watching toy unboxing videos and sharing why you might see them as a problem.

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t say much about letting kids have unlimited screen time, but it does suggest that parents should be part of what their kids are doing online and in video games.

But is that really a great idea?

The more time kids spend behind a screen, the less time they’ll spend climbing trees, learning human social skills and playing sports – and they’ll increase their cardiovascular risk, according to the American Heart Association.

And most experts recommend letting kids spend less than 2 hours per day on devices. Blue light from the screen can interfere with sleep, and that lack of sleep coupled with a lack of exercise can lead to childhood obesity.

What Do You Think?

Do you limit your kids’ screen time? Do you think it’s a good idea to let them have free rein over the internet and on gaming devices? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino