8082 MD4 Dis1

Read “Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education” (Linn, Almon, & Levin) with an open mind. Choose a point from the article that resonates with you. It can be a perspective with which you agree or disagree.

Young Children, Technology

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
8082 MD4 Dis1
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

and Early Education

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood • Alliance for Childhood •

Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

Facing
the Screen Dilemma:

Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young children, technology and early education

© 2012 The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the

Alliance for Childhood

All rights reserved.

First printing, October 2012

Printed in the United States of America

Cover and Graphic Design: Sonya Cohen Cramer

Editing: Colleen Cordes

Proofreading: Shara Drew and Niki Matsoukas

For permission to reprint or translate, contact info@allianceforchildhood.org

Facing the Screen Dilemma is available online at

www.commercialfreechildhood.org

www.allianceforchildhood.org

www.truceteachers.org

www.facebook.com/screendilemma

Suggested Citation: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Alliance for Childhood, & Teachers

Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (2012, October). Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young children,

technology and early education. Boston, MA: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood; New York, NY:

Alliance for Childhood.

Young Children, Technology and Early Education

Facing
the Screen Dilemma:

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Alliance for Childhood
Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n2

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to our reviewers for their wise and thoughtful insights: Nancy Carlsson-

Paige, EdD; Sherry Cleary, MS; Colleen Cordes; Cliff Craine; Katherine Clunis D’Andrea,

MA, MS; June Goldstein, MA; Jane Healy, PhD; Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, MEd; Linda

Rhoads, MS; Mary L. Ross; Mary Rothschild, MA; Yvonne Smith, MS; John Surr, JD; and

Rosario Villasana, MA.

We especially thank Josh Golin, who urged us to take this on and patiently read and

commented on numerous drafts.

We also want to thank the Concerned Educators Allied for a Safe Environment

(CEASE) for their generous contribution toward the costs of this publication.

Contents

Foreword …………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………….4

What Research Tells Us about Screen Time and Young Children …………….. 5

Whether or Not You Use Screen Technology in Your Setting ………………….11

If You Choose to Make Your Center Screen-Free ………………………………….. 13

If You Choose to Incorporate Screen Technology in Your Setting …………… 17

Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………. 18

Recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………. 19

Endnotes

………………………………………………………………………………………. 20

Suggested Reading …………………………………………………………………………… 23

About the Authors …………………………………………………………………………….24

3F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

Foreword

T he authors of this guide represent three organizations whose missions overlap in a commitment to the wellbeing of children. We share concerns about the escalating mis-
use and overuse of screen technologies in the lives of even the very young. We recognize the

primary importance of nurturing young children’s active and hands-on creative play, time

with nature, and their face-to-face interactions with caring adults and other children. We see

how screen time can interfere with these and other essentials of early childhood.

Each of us has worked with and for young children for decades. Our combined

experience includes preschool teaching and preschool management, teacher education,

and helping children through play therapy. We each have worked intensively to mitigate

the harmful effects of screen media on young children. That said, we are by no means

technophobes. Collectively we tweet, text, blog, Skype, and enjoy new technologies in all

sorts of ways. Our backgrounds include creating, and performing in, media programs for

young children and consulting on their content; helping teachers grapple with the impact

of media on children in their classrooms; and working extensively with families strug-

gling with screen time issues.

Based on mounting evidence, we are worried about the harm done to children’s health,

development, and learning in today’s media-saturated, commercially-driven culture. It’s

clear that both the nature of what children encounter on screens and the amount of time

they spend with screens are vital issues. We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics

and other public health organizations that many young children are spending too much

time with screens—and that screen time should be discouraged for infants and toddlers,

and carefully limited for older children.

In the interests of children’s wellbeing, we believe the early childhood community

needs to study the issues surrounding screen technologies, make informed decisions about

their use in classrooms and child care settings, and work with parents to manage screen

time and content in ways that best serve young children.

Susan Linn, EdD

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC)

Joan Almon

Alliance for Childhood

Diane Levin, PhD

Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE)

There’s no
question
that screen
technologies
are drastically
changing the
lives of children.
As a result,
early childhood
educators face
a complex
dilemma.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n4

Introduction

Smart boards. Smartphones. Tablets. E-books, and more. The rapid influx of new screen devices poses a special challenge for the early childhood community. A child born today
will experience wondrous technologies few of us can even imagine. How do we best support

children’s growth, development, and learning in a world radically

changed by technology?

Arriving at a truly child-centered answer to these questions is complicated by several

factors. The new technologies are exciting and often equated with progress. They are evolv-

ing so quickly that our grasp of how to make and operate them has rapidly outpaced our

understanding of the educational, developmental, ethical, and social ramifications of their

design and use.

One big challenge is that it’s hard to find objective information about whether to use

any sort of screen technology in early childhood settings. Much of what’s available comes

from companies whose profits depend on the sale of these devices or content for them, or

from organizations receiving financial support from such companies. There is a dearth of

independent research about their impact—and most of what does exist focuses on televi-

sion. Yet funding for early childhood centers, particularly in low-income communities, is

increasingly targeted for digital technology—making its inclusion understandably attractive

to cash-strapped programs.

To complicate matters further, the new technologies—such as smartphones and tab-

lets—are marketed as “interactive,” as opposed to “old technologies” such as television and

video. But these categories are not always accurate. If new technologies merely offer chil-

dren a choice between a predetermined set of options, then how much true give-and-take do

they really allow?

This guide is designed to help you and—with your support—the families with whom

you work make informed decisions about whether, why, how, and when to use screen tech-

nologies with young children. It provides an overview of the research on screen time and

young

children. And it offers guidance for those who want their programs to be screen-free,

as well as for those who choose to incorporate technology in their settings.

For the purpose of this guide,
the terms “screen technologies,”
“screens,” “media,” and “screen
media” are used interchangeably to
describe the general category of elec-
tronic devices that include screens.

Also, it is important to note that our
concerns about technology and young
children do not extend to digital
photography or programs such as
Skype that enable communication with
distant family and friends.

Terminology

The American
Academy of
Pediatrics and
other public
health organiza-
tions and agen-
cies recommend
discouraging
screen time for
children under
2 and no more
than 1 to 2 hours
per day (exclud-
ing schoolwork)
for older chil-
dren.

American Academy of
Pediatrics

Council on
Communications and
Media (2010).

5F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

What Research Tells Us about

Screen Time and Young Children*

Beginning in infancy, screen technologies dominate the lives of many young children, and they have significantly altered childhood.1 2 3 But how do we best support young
children’s health, development, and learning in a digital world? To date, research tells us

that screen time has no real benefit for infants and toddlers.4 For older children, the context

in which they use media, the nature of the content they experience, and the amount of time

they spend with screens are all important considerations.5

For children over 3, studies show that some exposure to thoughtfully constructed media

content can promote pro-social behaviors6 and contribute to learning,7 especially when a

caring adult is actively involved.8

On the other hand, some screen content can be harmful to children. Games and digital

activities that limit children to a predetermined set of responses have been shown to dimin-

ish creativity.9 Exposure to media violence is linked to aggression, desensitization to vio-

lence, and lack of empathy for victims.10 Media violence is also associated with poor school

performance.11

Even the formal features of media content—the visual techniques used in program-

ming—can affect young children. For preschoolers, watching just 20 minutes of a fast-

paced cartoon show has been shown to have a negative impact on executive function skills,

including attention, the ability to delay gratification, self-regulation, and problem solving.12

Setting limits on the time young children spend with screen technologies is as im-

portant as monitoring content is for their health, development, and learning. The new

technologies haven’t displaced television and video in children’s lives—they have added to

screen time.13 Extensive screen time is linked to a host of problems for children including

childhood obesity,14 sleep disturbance,15 16 and learning,17 attention,18 and social problems.19

And time with screens takes away from other activities known to be more beneficial to their

growth and development.20

Media use begins in infancy. On any given day, 29% of babies under the age of 1 are

watching TV and videos for an average of about 90 minutes. Twenty-three percent have

a television in their bedroom.21 Time with screens increases rapidly in the early years.

Between their first and second birthday, on any given day, 64% of babies and toddlers are

watching TV and videos, averaging slightly over 2 hours. Thirty-six percent have a television

in their bedroom.22 Little is known about the amount of time children under 2 currently

spend with smartphones and tablets, but in 2011 there were three million downloads just of

Fisher Price apps for infants and toddlers.23

* A version of this section first appeared in Linn, S. (2012). Healthy kids in a digital world: A strategic plan to
reduce screen time for children 0-5 through organizational policy and practice change. A report by the Campaign for a
Commercial-Free Childhood for Kaiser Permanente Community Health Initiatives Grants Program. Available at:
http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/healthykidsdigitalworld

The new
technologies
haven’t
displaced
television
and video in
children’s lives—
they have added
to screen time.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n6

Data vary on screen time for preschoolers. But even the most conservative findings

show that children between the ages of 2 and 5 average 2.2 hours per day.24 Other studies

show that preschoolers spend as much as 4.125 to 4.6 hours26 per day using screen media. As

children grow older, screen time increases and they tend to use more than one medium at

the same time. Including when they’re multi-tasking, 8- to 18-year-olds consume an aver-

age of 7 hours and 11 minutes of screen media per day—an increase of 2.5 hours in just 10

years.27

More research is needed. There is, for instance, some evidence that, for preschoolers,

having limited access to a computer at home may contribute to learning, while access to

video games does not. But the researchers did not track what children were doing on the

computer. They also found that using a computer just once a week is more beneficial than

using it every day—suggesting a little may go a long way, and that too much screen time

may interfere with learning for young children.28

To get a sense of how and why too much screen time can negatively affect learning, and

promote or exacerbate other problems for children, it’s important to look first at what young

children need for healthy growth and development.

Nurtur ing healthy br ain development

Modern science confirms what the early childhood community has known for years—that

infants, toddlers, and young children learn through exploring with their whole bodies,

including all of their senses. For optimal development, in addition to food and safety, they

need love. They need to be held, and they need plenty of face-to-face positive interactions

with caring adults. Developing children thrive when they are talked to, read to, and played

with. They need time for hands-on creative play, physically active play, and give-and-take

interactions with other children and adults. They benefit from a connection with nature and

opportunities to initiate explorations of their world.29

In the last few decades, discoveries in the neurosciences have made clear why the early

years of life are so critical. The basic architecture of the human brain develops through an

ongoing, evolving, and predictable process that begins before birth and continues into adult-

hood. Early experiences literally shape how the brain gets built. A strong foundation in the

early years increases the probability of positive outcomes later. A weak foundation does just

the opposite.30

Babies begin life with brains comprised of huge numbers of neurons, some of which

are connected to each other, and many of which are not. As children grow and develop,

everything they experience affects which neurons get connected to other neurons. Repeated

experiences strengthen those connections, shaping children’s behavior, habits, values, and

responses to future experiences. The experiences young children don’t have also influence

brain development. Neurons that aren’t used—or synaptic connections that aren’t repeat-

29% of babies under 1 year watch TV and videos for an average of 90 minutes.

64% of children 12 – 24 months watch TV and videos averaging just over 2 hours.

On any given day….

“It’s our insides
that make us
who we are,
that allow us
to dream and
wonder and
feel for others.
That’s what’s
essential. That’s
what will always
make the biggest
difference in our
world.”

Fred Rogers

7F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

ed—are pruned away, while remaining connections are strengthened.31 This means that

how young children spend their time can have important, lifelong ramifications. For better

or worse, repeated behaviors—including behaviors such as watching television, playing

video games, and playing with phone apps—can become biologically compelled habits.32

In fact, behavioral research shows that the more time young children spend with screens,

the more they watch later on,33 and the more difficulty they have turning off screens as they

become older.34

Most of the research on screen addiction has focused on television. But studies are

beginning to document the addictive potential of computers and video games as well.35 New

neuro-imaging techniques provide biological evidence of the addictive properties of some

screen media. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward, and alert-

ness, is released in the brain during fast-moving video games36 in a manner similar to its

release after the consumption of some addictive drugs.37 In a survey of children 8 to 18 years

old, one in four said that they “felt addicted” to video games.38

The impact of excessive screen time on development
and wellbeing

Research links many of the health and social problems facing children today to hours spent

with screens.

The erosion of creative play and interaction with caring adults: Studies show that the more

time infants, toddlers, and preschoolers spend with screens, the less time they spend en-

gaged in two activities essential to healthy development and learning.39 Screen-time takes

children away from hands-on creative play—the kind of give-and-take activities that children

generate and control, and that are specific to their interests and abilities.40

Screens also take time away from children’s interactions with caring adults. Even when

parents co-view television or videos with children, they spend less time engaged in other

activities with their children.41 And parents talk less to children when they are watching

television together than when they are engaged in other activities.42 In fact, they talk less to

children when television is on in the background as well.43 Newer technologies may also in-

terfere with parent-child conversations. The so-called interactive electronic books—in which

screen images respond to touch with sound effects or words or simple movements—are

less likely to induce the kind of adult-child interactions that promote literacy than traditional

books do.44

For young children, the added sounds and movements associated with many e-books

have been linked to lower levels of story understanding and may hinder aspects of emerg-

ing literacy.45 There is little or no research about literacy, young children, and the web. But

Screen time increases as children grow
Data vary on screen time for preschoolers. The most conservative findings show that
children between the ages of 2 and 5 average 2.2 hours per day. Other studies show
that preschoolers spend as much as 4.1 to 4.6 hours per day using screen media.
Including multi-tasking, children 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours per day with screens.

For better or
worse, repeated
behaviors—
including behav-
iors such as
watching televi-
sion, playing
video games,
and playing
with phone
apps—can
become biologi-
cally compelled
habits.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n8

it’s important to note that studies of adults suggest that attributes of the internet, such as

hyperlinks and the rapid introduction of new information, may undermine reading compre-

hension as well as deep thinking.46

Undermining learning, school performance, and peer relationships: For children under 3,

research demonstrates that screen media are a poor tool for learning language and vo-

cabulary47 and suggests that they are actually linked to delayed language acquisition.48 In

contrast, socio-dramatic play has been associated with significant gains in language use

and comprehension.49 By the time children turn 10, every additional hour of television they

watched as toddlers is associated with lower math and school achievement, reduced physical

activity, and victimization by classmates in middle childhood.50

School-age children with 2 or more hours of daily screen time are more likely to have

increased psychological difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional problems, and dif-

ficulties with peers.51

Given that children’s screen time increases as they get older, it’s important to note

that negative effects continue through adolescence. Time with television and video games

has been linked to problems with attention.52 Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of

television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative atti-

tudes toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.53 Studies of new media

are only just beginning to emerge. Even as social networking sites are being marketed to

young children, a study by Stanford University researchers has found that girls ages 8 to12

who are heavy users of social media are less happy and more socially uncomfortable than

their peers.54

Childhood obesity: Starting in early childhood, time with screen media is an important risk

factor for childhood obesity.55 56 57 The more time preschoolers spend watching television,

the more junk food58 and fast food59 they are likely to eat. In fact, for each hour of television

viewing per day, children, on average, consume an additional 167 calories.60

Studies also show that increased food intake and overweight are linked to video-game

use.61 And while active video games were heralded as a means of encouraging exercise in

children, those who own active video games, such as those for the Wii video-game console,

do not show an increase in physical activity.62

Sleep disturbance: Hours with television are linked to irregular sleep patterns in infants and

toddlers63 and to sleep disturbance in preschoolers64 and children ages 6 to 12.65 Time with

video games is also linked to sleep disturbance in children and adolescents.66

Extensive exposure to harmful commercialism: Since the advent of television, screen media

have been targeting children with advertising for a host of products including food, toys,

clothing, accessories, and more. With the weakening of federal regulations in the 1980s and

the proliferation of media produced for kids, marketing to children has increased exponen-

tially. In 1983, companies were spending $100 million annually targeting children.67 Now

they are spending over $17 billion.68

Most screen media for children is commercially driven. And beloved screen characters

routinely market products and more media to young viewers—to the detriment of their

“At Google
and all these
places, we make
technology as
brain-dead easy
to use as possi-
ble. There’s no
reason why kids
can’t figure it out
when they get
older.”

Google executive, Alan
Eagle, quoted in Richtel,
M. (2011, October 21). A
Silicon Valley school that
doesn’t compute. New York
Times, p. A1.

9F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

health and wellbeing. Childhood obesity,69 discontent about body image70 and eating disor-

ders,71 sexualization,72 youth violence,73 family stress,74 underage drinking,75 and underage

tobacco use76 are all linked to screen-based advertising and marketing. So is the erosion of

creative play.77 In addition, research shows that, regardless of their commercial content,

television and videos are less apt to generate creativity and imagination than books—which

require more of children.78

For over 30 years, the food, marketing, media, and toy industries have successfully

blocked meaningful government regulation of marketing to children. They have many

avenues for reaching children, but advertising on screen media is their primary gateway.

Reducing the amount of time children spend with screens is one of the few immediately

available strategies for limiting marketers’ access to, and impact on, children.

About the digital divide

Proponents of incorporating new technologies into early childhood settings argue that

young children from low-income families must acquire “technology handling skills” or

they will fall behind children from wealthier communities.79 Since many children in low-

income communities lag behind in experiences important to learning and literacy, such

as early exposure to a rich and varied vocabulary80 and access to books,81 it is argued that

postponing, or reducing, experiences with new technologies will create another barrier to

academic success.

The term “digital divide” was coined in the 1960s to describe inequalities in access to

computer technology.82 By the 1990s, its meaning expanded to include inequality in access

to the internet.83 Inequality in access still exists, but the gap is closing.84 The meaning of the

digital divide has become more nuanced, especially for children. Concern is growing about

how they are using the new screen technologies, how much time they spend, and what it’s

replacing.

According to a survey published in 2011, children ages 0 to 8 from low-income fami-

lies spend significantly more time with television and videos than their wealthier peers.85 It

also shows that there is still a significant gap in ownership of home computers and mobile

devices such as smartphones and tablets.86

At the same time, data from the survey showing the relationship between income

level and how much time young children spend with new technologies paint a more am-

biguous picture. Children from all income levels spend about the same amount of time

playing games on digital devices and engaged in other computer-based activities including

homework.87

Additional information is clearly needed for early childhood educators to make in-

formed decisions about technology and the needs of children from low-income communi-

ties. Rapid developments in the availability and pricing of mobile devices will likely affect

access and the amount of time children spend with them. As yet, there is no evidence that

introducing screen technologies in early childhood means children will be more adept

when they’re older. That means we can’t make an evidence-based comparison to “book-

handling skills.” And, finally, there is an urgent need for research to determine if adding

screen technologies of any kind in early childhood settings will increase or decrease gaps

in achievement.

Modern science
confirms what
the early child-
hood commu-
nity has known
for years—that
infants, toddlers,
and young
children learn
through explor-
ing with their
whole bodies,
including all of
their senses.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n1 0

Conclusion

More independent research is needed on the impact of screen technologies on young chil-

dren. But whether you believe that early childhood settings should include screen time or

not, there is enough evidence to draw these conclusions: Many young children are spending

too much time with screens at the expense of other important activities. There’s no evidence

that screen time is educational for infants and toddlers, and there is some evidence that it

may be harmful. Some carefully monitored experience with quality content can benefit chil-

dren over 3. But what’s most important for children is lots of time for hands-on creative and

active play, time in nature, and face-to-face interactions with caring adults. And, regardless

of content, excessive screen time harms healthy growth and development.

Based on the available research, the next three sections of this guide contain practical

information and suggestions for making your own decisions about using screen technolo-

gies with young children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the National
Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education recommend the following
guidelines for screen time in early care and early education settings:

• In early care and education settings, media (television [TV], video, and DVD) viewing and comput-
er use should not be permitted for children younger than two years.

• For children two years and older in early care and early education settings, total media time
should be limited to not more than 30 minutes once a week, and for educational or physical activ-
ity use only.

• During meal or snack time, TV, video, or DVD viewing should not be allowed.

• Computer use should be limited to no more than 15-minute increments except for homework and
for children who require and consistently use assistive and adaptive computer technology.

• Parents/guardians should be informed if screen media are used in the early care and education
program.

• Any screen media used should be free of advertising and brand placement. TV programs, DVD,
and computer games should be reviewed and evaluated before participation of the children to
ensure that advertising and brand placement are not present.

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care
and Early Education (2011). Caring for our children: National health and safety performance standards; Guidelines for early care and education
programs (3rd ed.). Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

1 1F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

Whether or Not You
Use Screen Technology

in Your Setting

It is vital for professionals working with children today, no matter what role technology plays in their own setting, to understand how screens can affect children’s development
and learning, and to take this understanding into account in their work with children and

parents.*

1. Try to determine if and how technology is affecting the performance and behavior of

the children in your care, and then work to counteract any harmful effects you identify.

Children’s exposure to screens at home and elsewhere will influence their classroom

learning and behavior—for instance, their interests, what they know and want to know,

how they play, and what they want to play. To address these problems, you can:

• Help children who are dependent on screen-related content and activities to

become deeply engaged with interests and activities in the real world that do not

involve following someone else’s program on a screen. Promoting creative play is

one of the most effective ways to do this. Engaging children in real world, hands-on

activities such as cooking, gardening, and woodworking is another.

• Support children’s efforts to deal with the content they see on screens. For instance,

when children talk, play, or make paintings about what they have viewed, they are

often looking for ways to understand or work through something that distressed

them. Observing how they express this can teach you a lot about the kinds of sup-

port they may need to work things out. Helping children feel safe talking about it

with you is one key way you can support their efforts to make sense of and influence

the lessons they may have learned.

2. Work closely with parents on technology issues.

• Share with parents how you are addressing screen issues and why you have decided

on your particular approach. And ask them how they use screens at home.

• Let parents know you are available as a resource, not as a critic, to support their ef-

forts to resolve the technology issues that come up in their family life.

• Use your regular channels of communication with parents to share information about:

q How electronic technologies can influence development and learning, as well

as strategies that support parents who are dealing with those influences.

* For more information on implementing many of the suggestions in this section of the guide, go to D. Levin,
Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age on how to deal with the impact of
media and technology on the children in your classroom or setting. (Washington, DC, National Association for the
Education of Young Children, in press.)

Children’s
exposure to
screens at home
and elsewhere
will influence
their classroom
learning and
behavior—for
instance, their
interests, what
they know and
want to know,
how they play,
and what they
want to play.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n1 2

q Your specific observations about how you think screens may be influencing

their child in your care, and strategies you have developed to respond.

q Help parents make thoughtful decisions about both the quantity and quality of

screens in children’s lives.

q As you work with parents and children, make sure you take into account their

cultural heritage, economic circumstances, and diverse values.

q Share specific resources to help parents deal with media and technology in

their homes. For

instance:

p TRUCE Action Guides (www.truceteachers.org) will help parents deal with

screens and promote play in supportive and user-friendly ways.

p The “Let’s Move!” initiative (www.letsmove.gov), created by Michelle

Obama, helps parents promote physical activity for children as an alterna-

tive to screen time and makes recommendations regarding media.

• Strive to create channels of communication among the parents of your children so

they feel comfortable discussing media issues and supporting each other’s efforts.

For example, host a screening of the film “Consuming Kids” or “Mickey Mouse

Monopoly” (available at: www.mediaeducation.org) as a springboard for discussion

among parents.

3. Consider the cost effectiveness of spending money on technology. Will the expense of

the equipment, staff training for its proper use, and maintenance be the best use of the

limited budgets of many early childhood settings?

4. Participate in the annual Screen-Free Week, a national event, when children, families,

schools, and whole communities turn off entertainment screen media and “turn on life.”

• Screen-Free Week provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy life without relying

on screens for entertainment. In addition to being fun, it is a time to reflect on: 1)

how screen media affects the lives of children and families, at home and in school;

2) what life is like without screen entertainment; 3) what children and families like

to do besides watching screens; and 4) how to use what everyone learns during

Screen-Free Week to make long-term changes in screen use.

• The “Screen-Free Week Organizer’s Kit” (www.screenfree.org) will help you begin.

Help parents
nurture screen-
free, creative
play at home
and be aware
of its benefits
for learning and
development.
Provide concrete
suggestions for
inexpensive play
activities that can
engage young
children.

1 3F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

If You Choose to Make

Your Center Screen-Free

Offering a screen-free setting is a valid and pedagogically sound choice. Many excellent preschools, child care centers, and kindergartens are choosing this option. Because
it is counter to the prevailing culture, however, it can be challenging to explain to parents

and others. Parents seek the best opportunities for their children. They may need help in

understanding why a screen-free environment will give their child a strong foundation in

broad-based learning. So be prepared for questions. You will create your own best answers,

but below are some common questions with some key points to help you respond. Sharing

information from the research section of this guide will also help to explain your decision.

Why do you place so much emphasis on hands-on learning and play instead of giving kids

time to learn with technology?

Longitudinal research shows that experiential learning—where teachers engage young stu-

dents in physically active, creative ways, combined with ample time for child-initiated play—

is essential for children to thrive developmentally in preschool and kindergarten.88 There is

no comparable research showing that screen-based learning is as effective. The content may

appear rich. But the actual experience of learning through screens pales for young children

when contrasted to learning that involves the mind, the emotions, and the body, including

the senses. Also, as the research section in this guide reports, there is mounting evidence of

harm related to too much screen time.

Some educators and occupational therapists are reporting that many school children now

need special therapy to develop the use of their hands.89 The issue is gaining increasing atten-

tion but needs to be researched. Anecdotally at least, it seems that children are less able to use

their hands for creative activities and work-related tasks than has been the case in the past.

The hand is constructed for a large variety of complex motions. Increasingly, however, children

spend long hours using their hands for a narrow set of skills linked to screens and digital toys.

One elementary school principal explained to The New York Times why he hired an occu-

pational therapist to work with all of his students, not just those with recognized disabilities,

as would normally be the case.

“‘… in the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t
have the strength in their hands to wield a scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which
in turn prepares them for writing.’ Many kindergartners in his community, he said,
have taken music appreciation classes or participated in adult-led sports teams or yoga.
And most have also logged serious time in front of a television or a computer screen.
But very few have had unlimited opportunities to run, jump and skip, or make mud
pies and break twigs. ‘I’m all for academic rigor,’ he said, ‘but these days I tell parents
that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds impor-
tant school-readiness skills, too.’”90

“It could be
argued that
active play is so
central to child
development
that it should be
included in the
very definition of
childhood.”

American Academy of
Pediatrics

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n1 4

A center without technology seems so old-fashioned. Won’t my child lag behind if she is not

introduced to digital technologies?

There is no evidence to support the popular view—heavily promoted by companies that sell

electronic media—that children must start early if they are to succeed in the digital age. And

as smartphones and other new technologies become less expensive, more and more very

young children are already spending too much time with them at home. Great innovators

in the computer industry like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not even experience computers

until they were about 12. But both had wide experiences with hands-on learning when they

were young. Gates was a Cub Scout, and Jobs spoke of his love for tinkering with the inner

workings of radios and televisions as a boy.

Tinkering, a creative form of hands-on exploration and play, has been found to be of

great importance for later problem solving in engineering and other fields.91 Because such

hands-on experiences foster creativity and constructive problem solving, they are especially

important for young children whose lives are dominated by screens. Research suggests that,

as a society, our creativity is declining,92 yet it is central to leading a meaningful life and to

success in the workplace. A global survey of 1,500 CEOs found that they named creativity as

the number one attribute for leadership.93

Andreas Schleicher is an educational analyst for the Organisation for Economic Co-

operation and Development (OECD), an international organization that manages the PISA

test.94 This is a highly regarded test for teens given in the wealthiest countries. Schleicher

visits classrooms in the best performing countries to find out what they are doing right.

He finds that the successful systems seem to “place their efforts primarily on pedagogical

practice rather than digital gadgets.”95

My preschooler is so smart. At home she does amazing things on any touch screen.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging this kind of intelligence at school as well?

Technological know-how is one kind of intelligence. But there are many other forms that

need to be developed in early childhood, including physical skills, social-emotional learn-

ing, the cognitive development that stems from active exploration and problem solving

in a child’s own physical environment, oral language skills, and the creative use of a wide

variety of play objects. These take time and often some adult support if they are to develop

fully. In early childhood settings, children also have a unique opportunity to work with other

children on projects, to build structures together, and to develop play scenarios that are rich

and meaningful. We share books and stories that require children to actively exercise their

imaginations to bring the sounds and images to life, unlike high-tech versions that do the

work for the children. At our center, we focus on the development of all these abilities.

Aren’t screen technologies just another tool? Why not just consider them to be one more tool

among many in the early childhood environment?

Electronic screen technologies are tools, but these very powerful devices were designed

primarily with adult needs and adult capacities in mind. Throughout history human beings

have used tools, which have helped shape our lives. It’s a great help if children can learn to

use basic tools first—such as hammers and nails, and cooking and gardening tools—that

are objects they can fully manipulate and control themselves.

Developing chil-
dren thrive when
they are talked
to, read to, and
played with. They
need time for
hands-on creative
play, physically
active play, and
give-and-take
interactions with
other children
and adults. They
benefit from a
connection with
nature and oppor-
tunities to initiate
explorations of
their world.

1 5F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

Screen technologies hide the real work from our eyes and hands. Their workings are

inside, determined by far-distant programmers. Children like to know how things work.

They typically take things apart and put them back together, but that’s not possible with

computers.

Because changes on a screen happen so quickly and because screens are so compelling,

children can become passive, content to let the technologies set the parameters, rather than

exercising their own skills and curiosity.

Also, because digital technologies are powerful tools, they require mature judgment to

know when and how to use them well—and how to avoid the pitfalls of misuse. There are

ways to prepare children so they can later make mature judgments based on their own ideas

and internal direction. Simply putting advanced tools into the hands of very young children

shortcuts important steps in the learning process and can lead to an over-dependence on

what others offer them.96

What are the differences between passive and interactive screens? Wouldn’t it help to just

provide young children with interactive technologies and curtail passive technology, such as

television and videos?

The term “passive media” is often used by proponents of new technologies in early child-

hood settings to describe media that children watch, such as television and videos. “Active

media” describes devices such as touch screens that allow children to influence what’s on

the screen. But it’s a distinction that doesn’t really make sense. Thoughtfully made television

and video programming for children over 3—and books, for that matter—can be interactive

when they encourage children to wrestle with ideas and feelings, or when they prompt chil-

dren to try new activities later. An app or any activity using new technologies can be “pas-

sive” when it promotes only imitation or programmed responses, or presents preset choices

for how to respond. These products actively engage children’s finger-tips but not their minds

and emotions.

As Lisa Guernsey writes in Slate magazine:

“Child development specialists say young children learn best when they are fully en-
gaged and imbued with a feeling of control. They encourage parents to seek out more
open-ended games and toys in which children could explore and create at their own
pace. Yet at the moment, not many apps are built with this approach in mind.”97

She goes on to cite an Australian study that examined the 10 best-selling apps for young

children in each of three countries: Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found that only 2% of the 30 programs could be considered open-ended,

creative programs, while 78% were essentially drill and practice programs. The remaining

apps offered several choices from a limited set of options.98

But no app or other digital media is as responsive and interactive as a live teacher, par-

ent, or playmate can be.

I want to work with parents on reducing screen time at home. They frequently ask me for a

guideline on how much is too much. Can you advise?

The answer to your question is complicated. The public health community provides guide-

The new technol-
ogies are exciting
and often equat-
ed with progress.
They are evolving
so quickly that
our grasp of how
to make and
operate them has
rapidly outpaced
our understand-
ing of the educa-
tional, develop-
mental, ethical,
and social rami-
fications of their
design and use.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n1 6

lines that discourage screen time for children under 2 and limit it to 1 to 2 hours per day for

children 2 and older. But many teachers find that even that much screen time can interfere

with the ability of some young children to develop their own ideas in play, or to develop self-

control and other needed skills.

One way to help parents is to ask them to take stock of how much time their children

spend with screens. When does screen time take place? How hard is it for them to stop?

Has screen time become a focus of family struggles? Encourage parents to choose content

carefully. Help them come up with a plan that works for their family. Some may decide to

cut back, or limit screen time to weekends. Others may decide to eliminate screen time

altogether.

My child has disabilities and benefits greatly from assistive technologies. Do the same rec-

ommendations for limiting screen time apply to her?

There is always room for individual responses to the needs of children, both at home and

school. Assistive technologies are extraordinarily helpful to many children with disabilities.

At the same time, whenever possible, it is also important for children to develop skills and

capacities that don’t require technological support. In general, the wider the range of abili-

ties that a child can develop, the better.

I work in a screen-free setting that serves low-income families. If it were up to me my class-

room would remain screen-free, but we’ve received a donation of tablets. I’m under pressure

to use them, but I don’t want them to dominate our work with the children. Any suggestions?

You’re in a difficult situation. Research is sorely needed to determine whether introducing

screen technologies in early childhood settings has any impact on the achievement gap. But

if the decision to use the tablets is irrevocable, there are helpful suggestions in the section of

this guide entitled, “If You Choose to Incorporate Screen Technology in Your Setting.” Key

among them are: be intentional in making choices, establish rules and routines, and choose

screen activities carefully. You can still make sure that your children spend most of their

time engaged in the kinds of hands-on and active play, and experiential learning that are so

central to their development. Whenever possible, carve out class time for being outdoors.

The public health community has set guidelines for all early care and education pro-

grams: Screen time “should not be permitted for children younger than two years. For chil-

dren two years and older… total media time should be limited to not more than 30 minutes

once a week, and for educational or physical activity use only.”99

Finally, help parents nurture screen-free, creative play at home and be aware of its

benefits for learning and development. Provide concrete suggestions for inexpensive play

activities that can engage young children. Simple household materials like a sheet thrown

over a table to be a cave or house, or cardboard boxes for hiding in, can often keep children

busy for long periods of time.

Behavioral
research shows
that the more
time young
children spend
with screens, the
more they watch
later on, and the
more difficulty
they have turn-
ing off screens
as they become
older.

1 7F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

If You Choose to Incorpor ate
Screen Technology in Your Setting

If you decide to use screens with children, then it is important to do so in ways that do not increase problems associated with screens, and that promote their active engagement
with developmentally appropriate, hands-on experiences and learning.

Be intentional: Have a carefully thought-out rationale for the technology you choose. This

includes answering such questions as:

• Will this technology accomplish something that I could not do just as well or better

without it? If so, what?

• How exactly will this technology enhance or expand what I am already doing to help

meet my learning and development goals for the children?

• Does it connect and build onto regular, real-life curricular activities already going on in

the classroom? If so, how?

• How do I ensure that the children use the technology in ways that enrich and deepen

their current knowledge and skills?

• Can I provide clear boundaries for screen activities so that they do not increasingly

creep into classroom life? How?

• How can I ensure that screen activities will not make children more dependent on

screens and lure them away from real-world, hands-on activities?

Establish technology rules and routines. The more you think things through in advance and

then involve children in this process, the less stress, conflict, or creeping escalation of tech-

nology you will have. For instance, work with the children on:

• What specific technology is being used?

• When can it be used and when not? Specific time limits are important. Having screen

activities with obvious end-points can help a lot with time limits.

Actively facilitate children’s involvement and learning before, during, and after any screen

activity.

• Observe and document what the children do. Focus on such things as: What are they us-

ing? How are they using it? What differences do you see in what individual children

do? Are there gender, race or class differences in the screen activities children choose

to do and not do? How does what they are doing connect to your goals for the activity?

Do things happen that you didn’t expect? How can your observations inform what you

do next with children and the activity? Are there negative aspects of the activity that you

had not anticipated?

The more you
think things
through in
advance and
then involve
children in this
process, the less
stress, conflict,
or creeping
escalation of
technology you
will have.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n1 8

• Discuss the activity with the children afterwards. How do they think and feel about what

they did? What connections can they make with their real-world experiences, including

the hands-on curricular activity which the screen activity may have been intended to

enrich? How can they use what they learned to inform their non-screen activities?

• Keep track of what children do when the screen activity is over. Do they have a hard time

stopping? How do they handle the transition back to non-screen activities? How do they

bring what they did on the screen into other activities?

Choose screen activities carefully. The questions below will help you make appropriate choices:

• What is the nature of their content? Avoid content that contains: racial or ethnic stereo-

types, violence, highly gender-divided behavior, or brand licensing (i.e., using popular

media themes and characters to promote the sale of products).

• What will the content contribute that non-screen activities cannot? Are there negative

ways it can affect children? If so, how?

• Does the content promote positive social interaction and play among children? If so, how?

Or does it undermine play and/or promote anti-social behavior?

• Will the screen activity interfere with the regular hands-on curriculum—e.g., will it be

hard to end because there are no obvious end points, or because it is so “exciting” and

fast-paced that everything else can seem boring? Is it likely to influence children’s inter-

actions with other children, and if so, how?

• Is it likely to influence children’s social interactions, and if so, how?

Think carefully about where screens are located and try to minimize their prominence. For

instance:

• Have them in a clearly designated place where small groups of children can use them

without distracting children involved in other activities.

• When not in use, avoid the distraction screens can create for children by covering larger

ones and placing small screens out of sight.

Conclusion

There’s no question that screen technologies are drastically changing the lives of children. As a result, early childhood educators face a complex dilemma. How do we best support
children’s growth, development, and learning in a culture increasingly reliant on screens?

We hope the information in this guide will help you address some key questions:

Should screen technologies be included in a center’s activities for children? If not, why not?

If so, then why, how, when, and how much?

Whatever you decide, we hope that you will reach out to parents, helping them make

thoughtful decisions about both the time children spend with screens and the content they

experience. Finally, we hope you will continue to provide children with what they need

most—active and hands-on creative play, time in nature, and lots of quality, screen-free time

with caring adults.

Conclusion

To date, research
tells us that
screen time has
no real benefit
for infants and
toddlers. For
older children,
the context
in which they
use media, the
nature of the
content they
experience, and
the amount of
time they spend
with screens are
all important
considerations.

1. Early childhood professionals

need to be well-informed about the

implications of screen technologies

for young children. It’s important

for individual settings to develop

internal policies based on avail-

able evidence. Whether or not you

use technology in your setting, we

recommend the following:

Advocate for courses and pro-

fessional development programs

that help teachers and caregivers

actively examine the pros, cons, and

implications of screen technologies

for their work with children.

Approach the claims made

about the benefits of new tech-

nologies with lively interest and

an open mind, but also—as you

would with any sales pitch—with

healthy skepticism. Are the claims

based on research by independent,

reputable researchers? Does the

person or organization advocating

for a product stand to profit from

its sale or depend on funding from

its manufacturer?

Support the development of

best practices that are evidence-

based. Advocate for more inde-

pendently funded research that

examines the potential positive and

negative effects—especially long-

term effects—of screen technolo-

gies on young children.

2. Make intentional decisions about

technology. If you use technology in

the classroom, understand why and

what you hope to accomplish with

it. If you do not use it, understand

why you are making that choice.

Weigh the costs and benefits care-

fully. New technologies can be

expensive. Count on investing in

professional development, as well

as purchase price, maintenance,

and replacement costs. Given lim-

ited budgets, before buying screen

technologies, assess both what

your program would gain and what

alternative opportunities would be

given up.

3. Keep in mind that choosing to

be screen-free is a viable option. As

with all your classroom decisions,

what you decide about technology

should be based on what your partic-

ular children really need. While the

use of technology in early childhood

settings is increasingly common,

choosing a screen-free, play-based

setting for young children remains a

pedagogically sound choice.

4. Work closely with parents.

Knowing how much time children

spend with screens at home—and

the nature of the content they are

experiencing—is central to making

an informed decision about screen

technologies in your classroom.

Understand why and how children

are using screens at home. Help

parents develop fun, affordable

alternatives to screen time and set

limits on how much screens are

used. Regardless of content, chil-

dren are harmed when a significant

portion of their time awake is spent

in front of a screen. Help those

who allow screen time at home

to understand the importance of

selecting content carefully. No mat-

ter how few hours they spend with

screens, children are harmed by

violent, sexualized, stereotyped, or

commercialized content.

5. Remember to keep settings for

infants and toddlers screen-free and

to set developmentally appropri-

ate time limits for older children.

There’s no evidence that screen time

is beneficial for children under 2

and some evidence that it may be

harmful. When setting time limits

for older children, consider total

screen time—including time at

home and time in the classroom.

There is scant evidence that screen

time is beneficial for children under

3, so total screen time for 2 to 3 year

olds should be minimal at most. For

young children over 3, the public

health recommendation of no more

than 1 to 2 hours a day is more than

enough for total screen time.

R E C O M M E N d AT I O N S
about Screen Technologies in Early Childhood Settings

1 9F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n2 0

1 Comstock, G. & Scharrer, E. (2007). Media and the
American child. Burlington, MA: Academic Press.

2 Rideout, V. & Hamel, E. (2006). The media fam-
ily: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers,
preschoolers, and their parents, p. 5. Menlo Park, CA:
Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.

3 Vandewater, E. A., Rideout, V. J., Wartella, E. A.,
Huang, X., Lee, J. H., & Shim, M. (2007). Digital
childhood: Electronic media and technology use
among infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Pediatrics,
119(5), pp. 1006-1015.

4 American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Com-
munications (2011). Media use by children younger
than 2 years. Pediatrics, 128(5), pp. 1040-1045.

5 American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Com-
munications and Media (2010). Media education. Pe-
diatrics, 126(5), pp. 1012-1017; American Academy of
Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media
(2011). Media use by children younger than 2 years.
Pediatrics, 128(5), pp. 1040-1045; and Kirkorian, H.
L., Wartella, E. A., & Anderson, D. R. (2008). Media
and young children’s learning. Future of Children,
18(1), pp. 39-61.

6 Mares, M-L, Palmer, E., & Sullivan, T. (2008). Proso-
cial effects of media exposure. In Calvert, S. L. & Wil-
son, B. J. (Eds.), The handbook of children, media, and
development, pp. 268-289. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

7 Kirkorian, H. L., Wartella, E. A., & Anderson, D.
R. (2008).

8 Bittman, M., Rutherford, L., Brown, J., &
Unsworth, L. (2011). Digital natives? New and old
media and children’s outcomes. Australian Journal
Of Education, 55(2), pp. 161-175; American Academy
of Pediatrics Council on Communications (2009).
Media violence. Pediatrics, 124, pp. 1495-1503.

9 Haugland S. W. & Wright J. L. (1997). Young
children and technology: A world of discovery. Boston,
MA: Allyn and Bacon.

10 American Academy of Pediatrics Council on
Communications (2009). Media violence. Pediatrics
124, pp. 1495-1503.

11 Mössle, T., Kleimann, M., Rehbein, F., & Pfeiffer,
C. (2010). Media use and school achievement–boys
at risk? British Journal of Developmental Psychology,
28(3), pp. 699-725.

12 Lillard, A. S. & Peterson, J. (2011). The immedi-
ate impact of different types of television on young
children’s executive function. Pediatrics, 128(4), pp.
644-649.

13 Rideout, V. (2011). Zero to eight: Children’s media use
in America, p. 44. San Francisco, CA: Commonsense
Media; Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., & Roberts, D. F.
(2010). Generation M2: Media in the lives of 8- to 18-year-
olds, p. 2. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.

14 Wijga, A. H., Scholtens, S., Bemelmans, W. J.,
Kerkhof, M., Koppelman, G. H., Brunekreef, B.,
& Smit, H. A. (2010). Diet, screen time, physical
activity, and childhood overweight in the general
population and in high risk subgroups: Prospec-
tive analyses in the PIAMA birth cohort. Journal of
Obesity, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from: http://
www.hindawi.com/journals/jobes/2010/423296/

15 Thompson, D. A. & Christakis, D. (2005). The
association between television viewing and irregular
sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of
age. Pediatrics, 116(10), pp. 851-856.

16 Barlett, N. D., Gentile, D. A., Barlett, C. P., Eisen-
mann, J. C., & Walsh, D. (2012). Sleep as a mediator
of screen time effects on children’s health outcomes.
Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), pp. 37-50.

17 Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick, C., Barnett, T. A., &
Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between
early childhood television exposure and academic,
psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle
childhood. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
Medicine, 164(5), pp. 425-431. Retrieved February
7, 2012, from: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/
reprint/164/5/425

18 Swing, E. S., Gentile, D. A., Anderson, C. A., &
Walsh, D.A. (2010). Television and video game ex-
posure and the development of attention problems.
Pediatrics, 126(8), pp. 214-221.

19 Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick, C., Barnett, T. A., &
Dubow, E. (2010).

20 Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. H.
(2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to
children’s free-time activities. Pediatrics, 117(2), pp.
181-191.

21 Rideout, V. (2011). Further analysis of original
data published by Commonsense Media was con-
ducted on October 4, 2012, by Melissa Saphir and
Vicky Rideout at the request of this publication.

22 Ibid.

23 Laporte, N. (2012, July 10). Where iPads have
toddler-proof cases, and toy design is child’s play:
Prototype. International Herald Tribune, p. 20.

24 Rideout, V. (2011), p. 18.

25 Tandon, P. S., Zhou, C., Lozano, P., & Christakis,
D. A. (2011). Preschoolers’ total daily screen time at
home and by type of child care. Journal of Pediatrics,
158(2), pp. 297-300.

26 The Nielsen Company (2009). TV viewing
among kids at an eight-year high. Retrieved July 19,
2010, from: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/
media_entertainment/tvviewing-among-kids-at-an-
eight-year-high/

27 Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., & Roberts, D. F.
(2010), p. 45.

28 Li, X. & Atkins, M. S. (2004). Early childhood
computer experience and cognitive and motor devel-
opment. Pediatrics, 113(6), pp. 1715-1722.

29 See Schonkoff, J. & Phillips, D. (Eds.) (2000).
From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early
childhood development. Washington, DC: The Na-
tional Academies Press; and Healy, J. (2004). Brain
development and learning from birth to adolescence
(3rd ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. For the
benefits of time in nature, see Louv, R. (2008). Last
child in the woods: Saving our children from nature
deficit disorder (expanded and revised ed.). New York,
NY: Algonquin Press. For more information about
how time in nature benefits children, the Children
and Nature Network has a series of monographs
summarizing research on the declining time
children spend in nature, and the benefits of being
connected to nature. Retrieved September 21, 2012,
from: http://www.childrenandnature.org/docu-
ments/C118/

30 See National Scientific Council Center on the
Developing Child at Harvard University (2007). The
science of early child development: Closing the gap
between what we know and what we do. Retrieved
August 30, 2007, from: www.developingchild.net

31 Schonkoff, J. & Phillips, D. (Eds.) (2000). From
neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood
development. Washington, DC: The National Acad-
emies Press; and Healy, J. (2004).

32 See Carr, N. (2010). The shallows: What the
internet is doing to our brains, p. 34. New York, NY:
Norton.

33 Certain, L. K. & Kahn, R. S. (2002). Prevalence,
correlates, and trajectory of television viewing among
infants and toddlers. Pediatrics, 109(4), pp. 634-642.

34 Christakis, D. & Zimmerman, F. (2006). Early
television viewing is associated with protesting
turning off the television at age 6. Medscape General
Medicine, 8(2), p. 63.

35 Grüsser, S. M., Thalemann, D. R., & Griffiths,
M. D. (2007). Excessive computer game playing: Evi-
dence for addiction and aggression? Cyberpsychology
& Behavior, 10(2), pp. 290-292; Hart, G. M., Johnson,
B., Stamm, B., Angers, N., Robinson, A., Lally, T., &
Fagley, W. H. (2009). Rapid communication effects of
video games on adolescents and adults. Cyberpsychol-
ogy & Behavior, 12(1), pp. 63-65.

36 Koepp, M. J., Gunn, R. N., Lawrence, A. D.,
Cunningham, V. J., Dagher, A., Jones, T., . . . Grasby,
P. M. (1998). Evidence for striatal dopamine release
during a video game. Nature, 393, pp. 266-268.

37 Carr, N. (2010), pp. 17–35.

38 Harris Interactive (2007). Video game addiction:
Is it real? Retrieved October 1, 2010, from: http://
www.harrisinteractive.com/NEWS/allnewsbydate.
asp?NewsID=1196

Endnotes

2 1F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

39 Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. H.
(2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to
children’s free-time activities. Pediatrics, 117(2), pp.
181-191.

40 See Vibbert, M. M. & Meringof, F. L. K. (1981).
Children’s production and application of story imagery:
A cross-medium investigation (Tech.Rep. No. 23).
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Project Zero.
See also Valkenberg, P. M. (2001). Television and the
child’s developing imagination. In D. G. Singer & J.
L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children and the media,
pp. 121-134. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

41 Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. H.
(2006).

42 Mendelsohn, A. L., Berkule, S. B., Tomopoulos,
S., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Huberman, H. S., Alvir,
J., & Dreyer, B. P. (2008). Infant television and video
exposure associated with limited parent-child verbal
interactions in low socioeconomic status house-
holds. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine,
162(5), pp. 411-417.

43 Kirkorian, H. L., Pempek, T. A., Murphy, L.
A., Schmidt, M. E., & Anderson, D. R. (2009). The
impact of background television on parent-child
interaction. Child Development, 80(5), pp. 1350-1359.

44 Parish-Morris, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.
M., & Maller, B. (2008). Electronic console books:
Independent effects on dialogic language in parents
and children. Boston University Conference on Lan-
guage Development, p. 10.

45 De Jong, M. T. & Bus, A. G. (2002). Quality
of book-reading matters for emergent readers: An ex-
periment with the same book in regular or electronic
format. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(1), pp.
145-155.

46 For a highly readable and thorough overview of
the research on the impact of new technologies on
deep thinking and other aspects of brain develop-
ment see Carr, Nicholas. The shallows: What the
internet is doing to our brains (2010). New York, NY:
W. W.

Norton & Company.

47 Robb, M. B., Richer, R. A., & Wartella, E. A.
(2009). Just a talking book? Word learning from
watching baby videos. British Journal of Developmen-
tal Psychology, 27(1), pp. 27-45; Krcmar, D., Grela, B.,
& Lin, K. (2007). Can toddlers learn vocabulary from
television? An experimental approach. Media Psychol-
ogy, 10(1), pp. 41-63; and Kuhl, P. K., Tsao, F. M., &
Liu, H. M. (2003). Foreign-language experience in
infancy: Effects of short-term exposure and social
interaction on phonetic learning. Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, 100, pp. 9096–9101.

48 Chonchaiya, W. & Pruksananonda, C. (2008).
Television viewing associates with delayed language
development. Acta Paediatrica, 97(7), pp. 977-982.

49 Smilansky, S. (1990). In E. Klugman, & S. Smila-

nsky (Eds.), Children’s play and learning: Perspectives
and policy implications, p. 35. New York, NY: Teachers
College Press.

50 Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick, C., Barnett, T. A., &
Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between
early childhood television exposure and academic,
psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle
childhood. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
Medicine, 164(5), pp. 425-431. Retrieved February
7, 2012, from: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/
reprint/164/5/425

51 Page, A. S., Cooper, A. R., Griew, P., & Jago, R.
(2010). Children’s screen viewing is related to psy-
chological difficulties irrespective of physical activity.
Pediatrics, 126(5), pp. 1011-1017.

52 Swing, E. S., Gentile, D. A., Anderson, C. A.,
& Walsh, D. A. (2010). Television and video game
exposure and the development of attention prob-
lems. Pediatrics, 126(8), pp. 214-221; Landhuis C. E.,
Poulton R., & Welch D., & Hancox, R. J. (2007). Does
childhood television viewing lead to attention prob-
lems in adolescence? Pediatrics, 120, pp. 532–537.

53 Johnson, J., Brook, J., Cohen, P., & Kasen, S.
(2007). Extensive television viewing and the develop-
ment of attention and learning difficulties during
adolescence. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
Medicine, 161(5), pp. 480-486. Retrieved October
2, 2012, from: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/
reprint/161/5/480

54 Roy, P., Nass, C., Meheula, L., Rance, M., Kumar,
A., Bamford, H., . . . Zhou, M. (2012). Media use,
face-to-face communication, media multitasking,
and social well-being among 8- to 12-year-old girls.
Developmental Psychology, 48(2), pp. 327-336.

55 Wijga, A. H., Scholtens, S., Bemelmans, W. J.,
Kerkhof, M., Koppelman, G. H., Brunekreef, B., &
Smit, H. A. (2010).

56 Landhuis, E. C., Poulton, R., Welch, D., & Han-
cox, R. J. (2008). Programming obesity and poor fit-
ness: The long-term impact of childhood television.
Obesity, 16(6), pp. 1457-1459.

57 Jago, R., Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J. C.,
Thompson, D., & Greaves, K. A. (2005). BMI from
3-6 years of age is predicted by TV viewing and
physical activity, not diet. International Journal of
Obesity, 29(6), pp. 557-564.

58 Harrison, K., Liechty, J., & The Strong Kids Pro-
gram (2011). U.S. preschoolers’ media exposure and
dietary habits: The primacy of television and time
limits of parental mediation. Journal of Children and
Media, 6(1), pp. 18-36.

59 Tavaras, E. M., Sandora, T. J., Shih, M. C., Ross-
Degnan, D., Goldmann, D. A., & Gillman, M. W.
(2006). The association of television and video view-
ing with fast food intake by preschool-age children.
Obesity, 14, pp. 2034–2041.

60 Weicha, J. L., Peterson, K. E., Ludwig, D. S.,
Kim, J., Sobol, A., & Gortmaker, S. L. (2006). When
children eat what they watch: Impact of televi-
sion viewing on dietary intake in youth. Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 160(4), pp. 436-442.
Retrieved February 7, 2012, from: http://archpedi.
ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/160/4/436

61 Chaput, J. P., Visby, T., Nyby, S., Klingenberg, L.,
Gregersen, N. T., Tremblay, A., . . . Sjödin, A. (2011).
Video game playing increases food intake in ado-
lescents: A randomized crossover study. American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(6), pp. 1196-1203;
Tremblay, M. S. & Willms, J. D. (2003). Is the Cana-
dian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical
inactivity? International Journal of Obesity-Related
Metabolic Disorders, 27(9), pp. 1100-1105.

62 Baranowski, T., Abdelsamad, D., Baranowski,
J., O’Connor, T. M., Thompson, D., Barnett, A., . . .
Chen, T. (2012). Impact of an active video game on
healthy children’s physical activity. Pediatrics, 129(3).
Retrieved February 7, 2012, from: http://pediatrics.
aappublications.org/content/early/2012/02/22/
peds.2011-2050.full +html

63 Thompson, D. A. & Christakis, D. (2005). The
association between television viewing and irregular
sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of
age. Pediatrics, 116(10), pp. 851-856.

64 Garrison, M. M., Liekweg, K., & Christakis, D.
A. (2011). Media use and child sleep: The impact of
content, timing, and environment. Pediatrics, 128(1),
pp. 29-35.

65 Barlett, N. D., Gentile, D. A., Barlett, C. P., Eisen-
mann, J. C., & Walsh, D. (2012).

66 Dworak, M., Schierl, T., Bruns, T., & Strüder, H.
K. (2007). Impact of singular excessive computer
game and television exposure on sleep patterns
and memory performance of school-aged children.
Pediatrics, 120(5), pp. 978-85.

67 Schor, J. (2004). Born to buy, p. 21. New York:
Scribner.

68 James McNeil quoted in Horovitz, B. (2006,
November 22). Six strategies marketers use to make
kids want things bad. USA Today, p. 1B. Retrieved
March 2, 2008, from: http://www.usatoday.com/
money/advertising/2006-11-21-toy-strategies-usat_x.
htm

69 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
(2006). Food marketing to children and youth: Threat
or opportunity?, p. 2. Washington, DC: The National
Academies Press.

70 Hargreaves, D. & Tiggemann, M. (2002). The
effect of television commercials on mood and body
dissatisfaction: The role of appearance-schema
activation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology,
21(3), pp. 287-308.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n2 2

71 Becker, A. E., Burwell, R. A., Herzog, P. H., &
Gilman, S. E. (2002). Eating behaviors and attitudes
following prolonged exposure to television among
ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. British Journal of
Psychiatry, 180, pp. 509-514.

72 American Psychological Association, Task Force
on the Sexualization of Girls (2007). Report of the
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, p. 3.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Associa-
tion. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from: www.apa.org/
pi/wpo/sexualization.html

73 American Academy of Pediatrics (2000, July
26). Joint statement on the impact of entertainment
violence on children. Congressional Public Health
Summit. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from: http://
www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jstmtevc.htm

74 Buijzen, M. & Valkenburg, P. M. (2003). The
effects of television advertising on materialism,
parent–child conflict, and unhappiness: A review of
research. Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(4), pp.
437–456.

75 Federal Trade Commission (1999). Self-regulation
in the alcohol industry: A review of industry efforts to
avoid promoting alcohol to underage consumers, p. 4.
Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission.

76 National Cancer Institute (2001, November).
Changing adolescent smoking prevalence. Smoking
and Tobacco Control Monograph, No.14, NIH Pub. #
02-5086.

77 Greenfield, P. M., Yut, M., Chung, M., Land, D.,
Kreider, H., Pantoja, M., & Horsely, K. (1993). The
program-length commercial. In G. Berry & J. Keiko
(Eds.), Children and television: Images in a changing so-
ciocultural world, pp. 53-72. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

78 See Vibbert, M. M. & Meringof, F. L. K. (1981).
Children’s production and application of story imagery:
A cross-medium investigation (Tech.Rep. No. 23).
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Project Zero.
See also Valkenberg, P. M. (2001). Television and the
child’s developing imagination. In D. G. Singer & J.
L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children and the media,
pp. 121-134. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

79 The Fred Rogers Center for Media and Early
Learning & the National Association for the Educa-
tion of Young Children (2012). Technology and inter-
active media as tools in early childhood programs serving
children from birth through age 8, p. 4. Retrieved
October 2, 2012, from: http://www.naeyc.org/files/
naeyc/file/positions/PS_technology_WEB2

80 See Hart, B. & Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful dif-
ferences in the everyday experience of young American
children. New York: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

81 Neuman, S. & Celano, D. (2001). Access to print
in low-income and middle-income communities:
An ecological study of four neighborhoods. Reading
Research Quarterly, 36(1), pp. 8-26.

82 The technology gap (1967). Time, 89(2), p. 20.

83 U.S. Department of Commerce, National Tele-
communications and Information Administration
(NTIA) (1995). Falling through the net: A survey
of the “have nots” in rural and urban America. Re-
trieved October 2, 2012, from: http://www.ntia .
gov/ntiahome/fallingthru.html

84 Zucker, K. & Smith, A. (2012). Digital differences.
Pew Charitable Trust: Pew Internet and American
Life Project. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from:
http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Digital-differ-
ences/Main-Report/Internet-adoption-over-time.aspx

85 Rideout, V. (2011), p. 26.

86 Ibid, p. 20.

87 Ibid; Children from families earning less than
$30,000 annually spend an average of 25 minutes a
day playing games on digital devices and 5 minutes a
day in other computer activities including homework
or educational activities. Children from families
earning more than $75,000 annually spend 26 min-
utes a day with games and 5 minutes a day in other
computer activities. Children from families earning
between $30,000 and $70,000 spend 22 minutes a
day playing digital games and 8 minutes in other
computer activities.

88 For review of relevant research see Almon, J.
& Miller, E. (2011). The crisis in early education: A
research-based case for more play and less pressure.
College Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood; and
Miller, E. & Almon, J. (2009). Crisis in the kindergar-
ten: Why children need to play in school. College Park,
MD: Alliance for Childhood. Retrieved September
15, 2012, from: www.allianceforchildhood.org/
publications

89 Author’s conversations with educators and oc-
cupational therapists; and Tyre, P. (2010, February
24). Watch how you hold that crayon. The New York
Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from: http://
www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/fashion/25Therapy.
html?pagewanted=all

90 Ibid, Tyre, P.

91 Brown, S. & Vaughan, C. (2009). Play: How it
shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates
the soul, pp. 9-11. New York, NY: Avery-Penguin.

92 Britannica Editors (2010, October 18). The
decline of creativity in the United States: 5 questions
for educational psychologist Kyung Hee Kim. Ency-
clopedia Britannica Blog. Retrieved October 6, 2012,
from: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2010/10/
the-decline-of-creativity-in-the-united-states-5-ques-
tions-for-educational-psychologist-kyung-hee-kim/

93 Baley, M. (2011, February 7). Is creativity the
number 1 skill for the 21st century? Psychology
Today. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from: http://
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/working-creativi-

ty/201102/is-creativity-the-number-1-skill-the-21st-
century

94 The PISA exam (Programme for International
Student Assessment) is given to about 175,000
15-year-olds from the world’s wealthiest countries.
Retrieved September 15, 2012, from: http://www.
oecd.org/pisa/

95 Ripley, A. (2010, October 20). Brilliance in a
box: What do the best classrooms in the world look
like? Slate. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from:
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/
the_hive/2010/10/brilliance_in_a_box.html

96 Alliance for Childhood (2004). Tech tonic: Towards
a new literacy of technology, pp. 71-84. College Park,
MD: Alliance for Childhood. Retrieved September
28, 2012, from: http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/
sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files/file/pdf/projects/
computers/pdf_files/tech_tonic . Provides guide-
lines and principles for developing a deeper technol-
ogy literacy, from using the simplest technologies in
early childhood to the most advanced in high school
and college.

97 Guernsey, L. (2012, May 2). Can your preschooler
learn anything from an iPad app? Slate. Retrieved
September 23, 2012, from: http://www.slate.com/
articles/technology/future_tense/2012/05/interac-
tive_screen_time_for_kids_do_educational_ipad_
apps_teach_toddlers_anything_.html

98 Goodwin, K. & Highfield, K. (2012). iTeach and
iLearn—An examination of ‘educational’ apps. (Con-
ference report of study of top 10 selling apps in each
of three countries—the United States, the United
Kingdom, and Australia). Early Education and
Technology for Children Conference, 2012. Retrieved
September 23, 2012, from: http://www.eetcconfer-
ence.org/wp-content/uploads/Examination_of_edu-
cational_apps

99 From Caring for our children: National health and
safety performance standards; Guidelines for early care
and education programs (3rd ed.).

2 3F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n

Suggested Reading

Alliance for Childhood. Fool’s Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood, Second Printing (2001,

July). Edited by Colleen Cordes and Edward Miller. College

Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood.

Carlsson-Paige, Nancy. Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Roadmap for Raising Confident, Creative, Com-

passionate Kids (2008). New York, NY: Hudson Street Press.

Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2010). New York, NY: W. W.

Norton & Company.

Cordes, Colleen and Edward Miller. Tech Tonic: Towards a New Literacy of Technology (2004). College

Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood.

Giroux, Henry and Grace Pollock. The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence (Updated

and Expanded Edition) (2010). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Healy, Jane. Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning From Birth to Adolescence

(2004). New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Healy, Jane. Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect our Children’s Minds – and What We Can Do

About It (1999). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Levin, Diane and Nancy Carlsson-Paige. The War Play Dilemma: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs

to Know (2nd Edition) (2006). New York, NY:

Teachers College Press.

Levin, Diane and Jean Kilbourne. So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents

Can Do to Protect Their Kids (2008). New York: Ballantine Books.

Levin, Diane. Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age

(In press). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Linn, Susan. Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (2004). New York, NY:

The New Press.

Linn, Susan. The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World (2008). New York, NY:

The New Press.

Miller, Edward and Joan Almon. Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School (2009).

College Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood.

Oppenheimer, Todd. The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology (2004).

New York, NY: Random House.

Orenstein, Peggy. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl

Culture (2012). New York, NY: Harper.

Skenazy, Lenore. Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with

Worry) (2010). Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

Tobin, Joseph Jay. Good Guys Don’t Wear Hats: Children’s Talk About the Media (2000). New York, NY:

Teachers College Press.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2012).

New York, NY: Basic Books.

Van Evra, Judith. Television and Child Development (2004). London: Routledge.

F a c i n g t h e S c r e e n D i l e m m a : Y o u n g C h i l d r e n , T e C h n o l o g Y a n d e a r lY e d u C a T i o n2 4

About the Author s

Susan Linn, EdD, is founder and director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood,

research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital, and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard

Medical School. She has written two books and numerous articles about creative play and

the effects of media and commercial marketing on children. A psychologist and an award-

winning ventriloquist, she and her puppets appeared on Mister Rogers Neighborhood and

in numerous videos helping children cope with difficult issues ranging from racism to pa-

rental depression. In 2006 she received a Presidential Citation from the American Psycho-

logical Association for her work on behalf of children.

Joan Wolfsheimer Almon co-founded the Alliance for Childhood in 1999 and served as its

director until 2012 when she became director of programs. She oversees the Alliance’s cam-

paigns to restore play in childhood, play-based learning in preschool and kindergarten, and

the overuse of screen time in childhood. Joan began working with young children in 1971

and became a Waldorf early childhood educator. She taught in Maryland for nearly 20 years

and then traveled extensively as a consultant to schools in Africa, Asia, South America, and

Europe. She enjoys telling fairy tales to children and enlivening them through marionette

shows.

Diane E. Levin, PhD, is professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College in

Boston. Her teaching, writing, and advocacy focus on how various forces in society—such

as war and conflict, economic crises, media, marketing and toys—affect children’s develop-

ment, learning, behavior and play; and, what parents, teachers and the wider community

can do to counteract the harm and promote the positive. She has written or co-written eight

books. Formerly, Diane taught kindergarten and emotionally disturbed preschoolers. She is

a founder of Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (www.truceteachers.

org), Defending the Early Years (www.deyproject.org) and the Campaign for a Commercial-

Free Childhood.

The Campaign for a
Commercial-Free Childhood
supports parents’ efforts to raise
healthy families by ending the
exploitive practice of marketing to
children. We hold corporations
accountable for egregious marketing
practices, promote policies that limit
advertisers’ access to children, and
advocate for commercial-free schools.
CCFC is also home to national
Screen-Free Week.
www.commercialfreechildhood.org

The Alliance for Childhood
promotes policies and practices
that support children’s healthy
development, love of learning,
and joy in living. Current
campaigns include the
restoration of play in children’s
lives and of experiential, play-
based learning in preschools
and kindergartens; and the
development of the decade for
Childhood: 2012–2022.
www.allianceforchildhood.org

Teachers Resisting
Unhealthy Children’s
Entertainment
is a grassroots organization
that prepares action guides
to help teachers and parents
deal with the harmful impact
of media and commercial
culture on young children’s
play, behavior and school
success.
www.truceteachers.org

Young Children, Technology

and Early Education
Facing
the Screen Dilemma:

Smart boards. Smartphones. Tablets. E-books, and more. The rapid influx of new

screen devices poses a special challenge for the early childhood community. How do

we best support children’s growth, development, and learning in a world radically

changed by technology?

Facing the Screen Dilemma is designed to help early childhood educators make

informed decisions about whether, why, how, and when to use screen technologies

with young children. It provides an overview of the research on screen time and young

children. And it offers guidance for those who want their programs to be screen-free,
as well as for those who choose to incorporate technology in their settings.

8082 Module 4- Discussion 1:

Technology and Young Children Today: Multiple Perspectives

Many children interact with technology daily in various ways. If you looked into homes across the world, you might see young children using tablets, smartphones, and watching television. There are television shows and apps geared toward all ages that advertise activities that promote developmentally appropriate learning. As an early childhood professional, committed to fostering positive outcomes for young children, it can be difficult to determine as a guardian or caregiver which digital media is appropriate for each child. As opportunities to interact with technology continue to permeate so many aspects of children’s lives, it is a concern whether the amount of screen time children are exposed to should steadily increase. It is not only the time children spend in front of screens that is of concern to educators, families, and even the medical community; it is also what children are “giving up.” Interactions with books, playing outside, and participating in face-to-face conversations are a few examples of activities that may not be as prominent in children’s lives. What are children gaining and what are they giving up?

For this Discussion, you further explore the use of technology with young children and what the appropriate amount of screen time may be.

Assignment Task Part 1:

Read “Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education” (Linn, Almon, & Levin) with an open mind. Choose a point from the article that resonates with you. It can be a perspective with which you agree or disagree.

Post the following:

· Write a 1 ½ page

· detailed summary of the point you chose from the article

· Whether you agree with this point and why

· A citation for a peer-reviewed article or a textbook that validates your thinking and an explanation of how this resource supports your view

· Use intext citations and cite appropriate references

Assignment Task Part 2:

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

Respond to two of your colleagues’ postings of 125 words each in one or more of the following prompts:

· Explain why you agree or disagree with your colleague’s perspective.

· Evaluate whether the suggested resource truly validates your colleague’s thinking and, if possible, suggest an additional resource.

· Suggest a resource that refutes your colleague’s thinking.

· Share a professional experience that validates or refutes your colleague’s thinking

2

Assignment Task Part 2:

Read

 

a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

Respond to two of your colleagues’ postings of 125 words each in one or more of the following prompts:

· Explain why you agree or disagree with your colleague’s perspective.

· Evaluate whether the suggested resource truly validates your colleague’s thinking and, if possible, suggest an additional resource.

· Suggest a resource that refutes your colleague’s thinking.

· Share a professional experience that validates or refutes your colleague’s thinking.

Colleague Response #1

Katheryn Gonzales 

One of the points in Lin, Almon, and Levin’s (2012) article “Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology, and Early Education” that I agree with is the teacher’s tip regarding the harmful effects technology can have on a child’s identity. The article discusses how children exposed to screen time either at home or school will impact their learning and behavior. This impact can either be positive or negative. The article says that exposure to media and technology can impact a child’s interest, what they learn about, who they play with, and what they want to play. The article addresses ways that teachers can mitigate harmful effects with their students. For example, teachers can ignite student interest in real-world activities and promote creative play. The next tip is to help children make sense of what they have viewed. At times, children will play, talk, or make paintings about what they have seen to understand and make sense of what they have viewed. Teachers can observe how students play, talk, and interact with teaching lessons to counteract harmful influences from technology. Teachers can also look for ways to help students feel safe and make sense of technology’s impact on their lives.

I agree with this point wholeheartedly. As a kindergarten teacher in a Title 1 school, I see a lot of students who use technology and have significant amounts of screen time. Some of the harmful effects I have noticed are the lack of fine motor skills, lack of attention, and inappropriate play. For example, I deal with students playing games like Red Light and Green Light at recess in my classroom, which may sound innocent. However, when a student moves after the red light is called, instead of being sent to the starting line, the person calling the red light walks over and points a fake gun at the students head and says, “bang.” The child that moved falls to the ground and plays dead. All of this is due to the Netflix show Squid Games. Students in my class are five and six years old and have watched a rated M program for mature. The article explains that children will act out what they have seen to understand what they have viewed.

One of the reasons that technology is harmful to young children is what technology is replacing. Often screen time has replaced play, family time, and in-person interactions (Mourlam et al, 2020). When adult interaction is absent, children are left to make decisions that are not always beneficial to them and may not always understand.

References 

Linn, S., Almon, J. W., & Levin, D. E. (2012). Facing the screen dilemma: Young children,

technology and early education. Retrieved from

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/facing

thescreendilemma

 

Mourlam, D. J., DeCino, D. A., Newland, L. A., & Strouse, G. A. (2020). “It’s fun!” using

students’ voices to understand the impact of school digital technology integration on their well-being. Computers & Education, 159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104003

Colleague Response # 2

Renee Morris 

Technology has evolved through the 21st century. Technology allows students to take control of their learning. The use of technology allows teachers to personalize learning for students. Preparing students for the global society, technology is definitely a necessity in the classroom. However educators should be mindful that technology can also be harmful to students.

Students’ mental health has become an increasing concern. Linn, Almon, and Levin (2012) highlighted “extensive screen time is linked to a host of problems for children including childhood obesity, sleep disturbance,  learning, attention, and social problems.”  Shonkoff et al, (2011) explain that mental health concerns have increased due to effects of watching television and other technologies. As many students face adversities outside of the classroom, this could be a valid argument if technology is not intentionally and purposefully used.  Linn, Almon, and Levin (2012) stated that  “time with screens takes away from other activities known to be more beneficial to their growth and development.”

The use of technology should be well planned into lessons  to enhance development. Technology usage should be purposeful and not used for busy work with no set goal.  Incorporating technology in the class takes a great amount of organization and planning. Digital citizenship should be well established and revisited throughout the school year. Digital citizenship teaches students how to responsibly navigate the internet, effectively and respectfully communicate online, and how to  respond to internet dilemmas.  Technology usage is a 21st century skill needed to successfully thrive in a globally competitive society.  

Kressin (2020) reported that the success of technology usage in the classroom requires teacher’s willingness. Educators should recognize that the use of technology allows for personalized learning. Learning can be individualized on a student’s level.  The use of technology in the class allows all students to shine and do their best. Using technology provides students with a choice.  Students take ownership of their learning when a choice is provided. Teachers can use the time to highlight positive behaviors of students that may not usually get the praise in the traditional learning setting.  Teacher check-in can also be an addition as students work independently or collaboratively on a task.  

Although Linn, Almon, and Levin (2012) have a valid argument that technology can be “commercially driven and detrimental to a child’s development”, technology has great benefits for preparing students to be a productive citizen.  According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (n.d.) “technology and media usage can support learning and relationships.” Children are familiar with several technological devices and applications. Parents and educators should use the technology to the childs’ benefit. 

References

Kressin, L. (2020). Teacher Freedom and Student Ownership in the Classroom: 

Integrating High-Value Technology in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom – ProQuest. Retrieved 4 January 2022, from 

https://www.proquest.com/openview/85c8cc26a9159b4b98509f1a150480e9/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Linn, S., Almon, J. W., & Levin, D. E. (2012). Facing the screen dilemma: Young 

children, technology and early education. Retrieved from 

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/facingthescreendilemma

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (n.d.). Technology and media. 

https://www.naeyc.org/resources/topics/technology-and-media

Shonkoff, J.P., Garner, A.S., Siegel, B.S., Dobbins, M.I., Earls, M. F., McGuinn, L., 

Wood, D. L., (2011).  The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics 129(1) e232-e246. 

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/129/1/e232.full

Calculator

Calculate the price of your paper

Total price:$26
Our features

We've got everything to become your favourite writing service

Need a better grade?
We've got you covered.

Order your paper