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Do Video Games and TV Affect Your Child’s Attention Span?

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:31pm

Research published in the July 2010 edition of the journal Pediatrics finds a strong correlation between screen time and attention problems. The authors of the study found that the associations between screen time and attention problems were similar across age (middle childhood/adolescence/young adulthood) and across media types (video games/television).

Experimental Design

The study looked at video game and television habits as reported by the children and their parents, as well as reports from the children’s teachers regarding their performance in school, including any attention problems. More than 1300 kids in grades 3, 4, and 5 took part in the study. The study’s authors found that children who exceeded the recommended two hours of screen time per day were 1.5 times more likely to exhibit attention problems in school.

Correlation doesn't equal Causation

The first caveat to these findings is that correlational data only go so far. We know there is a relationship between attention and screen time, but teasing out the details of this relationship requires further research. Do video games cause attention problems or do kids with attention problems play more video games? Are there other factors at play, such as not getting enough exercise or regular sleep? Without a randomized controlled trial we cannot draw any causal conclusions about how video games affect children’s attention spans.

Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society both recommend limiting children’s screen time to no more than two hours per day. Between handheld video game devices, television, computers, console games, and movies this recommendation will be one that is increasingly difficult to implement.

What’s Your Strategy?

I recently heard about one parent’s unique approach to managing their child’s handheld gaming time; they give their child one battery charge per week, then it is up to the child to spend it wisely throughout the week. What’s your media management strategy? Post a comment below and share your tips for how to enjoy media wisely.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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TV in the Bedroom: Friend or Foe?

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 05:20pm

Kids are immersed in media these days. And while the use of computers, smartphones, and other mobile technologies continues to grow, television still dominates children’s media lives. You could call it the staple dish in their media diet. Recent research has linked the presence of a TV in the bedroom with heavier media use and more severe fear responses. How should parents interpret these findings? Is it time to pull the plug on TV in the bedroom?

Some findings about fear

Research published in this month’s Journal of Children and Media, focusing on children’s experiences of “media-induced fright”, found that 76% of the children in the study reported instances of fright, with many of those coming in response to G or PG rated movies [1]. In this study, having a TV in the bedroom was the best predictor of the severity of the child’s fright.

The researchers note that the most common theme associated with fear involved the supernatural. And given that very young children have difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality, it is possible that some fantastical (and scary) scenes in movies may be contributing to the child’s fear. What else does having a TV in the bedroom mean for kids?

Screentime or bedtime?

In the recently released Kaiser Family Foundation study on media use, they found that those who have a television in the bedroom were among the heaviest media users. The report also found significantly less media exposure in households that had some kind of rules governing the use of media. So what do these finding mean for parents? Is a child watching television in his or her bedroom more prone to media-induced fear than if they watched in their living rooms, or at a friend’s house? Should parents get the TV out of the bedroom, and create rules for TV use?

The co-viewing factor

Having rules and guidelines about appropriate media use is important, particularly for younger kids. Co-viewing is another method parents can use when managing their children’s screentime. When parents are watching television with their kids they can comfort their children if they become distressed, skip through any scary parts, or even turn it off and break out the crayons.

Share your thoughts

Does your preschooler have a TV in the bedroom? Have your kids been affected by something scary on TV or in a movie? How will these recent research findings affect how you manage your child’s media diet? Post a comment below to share your experiences with other parents.

[1] Cantor, J., S. Byrne, E. Moyer-Gusé, K. Riddle. Descriptions of Media-Induced Fright Reactions in a Sample of US Elementary School Children. Journal of Children and Media 4(1) p.1-17.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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The Family that Watches Together

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:59pm

Helping your child get more out of television

Decades of research show that children learn about literacy, math, social skills, and more when they watch well-designed educational television shows like Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer. Yet, kids learn even more from co-viewing – that is, when they watch with a parent or caregiver, and talk about what they see.

In today’s busy world, most parents don’t have the time to sit with their kids every time they turn on the TV. But even occasional co-viewing with your child can make a difference. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

What’s On?

Take a look at some of the shows your child watches, and get a sense of what they’re like. Even among positive, educational programming, different series are designed to address a variety of subjects for different age groups. Just as you do in every other aspect of your child’s life, choose the programs that are best suited to your child’s age, personality, interests, and needs.

Watch Together, Talk Together

When you can, take a little time to watch TV together with your child. As you do, talk about what you see. You don’t need to keep up a constant stream of chatter — after all, you don’t want to become the annoying guy in the movie theater who won’t keep quiet. But an occasional, well-timed comment can help kids follow the story and understand its educational concepts (“See, those letters spell ‘store’,” “Oh, look – what’s the monkey doing?").

To help your child understand the program more deeply, take your conversation beyond what’s literally on the screen. Encourage your child to guess what will happen next, discuss what a character might be feeling, or tie aspects of the story to your own lives (“Remember, that’s like the time we…,” “Mmm, he’s eating ice cream. You like ice cream too, right?”).

Join in!

Many TV shows specifically invite young viewers to play along while they watch. Encourage your child to call out answers to puzzles in Blue’s Clues, or to count along with The Count on Sesame Street. And don’t be afraid to join in the fun yourself!

Even when a show isn’t as directly participatory as Blue’s Clues, kids can still take an active part by putting themselves in the characters’ place. Can they solve the mystery before the characters do? What would they do if they had a fight with a friend, like the character on screen?

Keep It Going

Use favorite shows as a springboard for activities that the two of you – or even the whole family – can do together afterward. Is his curiosity sparked by a story about leaves on The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That? Take a walk outside to collect different kinds of leaves together. Is Dinosaur Train her favorite show? Visit a museum where she can see footprints and fossils from real-life dinosaurs. Related books, trips, and activities can keep the learning going long after the TV is turned off.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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Media and Child Health - Why Media Matters

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:53pm

Children today are consuming media at unprecedented rates. The average preschooler watches 32 hours of television a week. Almost half of households with preschool children have 3 TVs in the home and 18% have 5 or more! 32% of 2-7 year olds have a TV in their bedroom. So what do all these numbers mean? They mean that presently, the average child spends more time with screen media than on any other activity save for sleeping. It also means that there is good reason for parents to be concerned about what their kids are watching.

How Screen Media affects Children

Children are drawn to screen media. And with all the educational claims that products are making, it is no wonder that smartphones, tablets, and TVs are being used as babysitters. They are reliable and easily accessible options for parents who, understandably, need a little downtime. So what can parents to do in an increasingly media-saturated environment?

What the experts say

The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have both issued similar guidelines for parents that recommend no screen time for children under two year of age and no more than 1-2 hours per day for children 2 and up.

Setting limits

Heavy media use is associated with higher rates of obesity, anxiety, reduced attention spans, and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, these effects are significantly mediated when parents set limits. Studies show that those children whose parents have put limits on screen time and what content is appropriate show reductions in these effects.

Get Involved!

Apps, digital games, and even TV shows can be educational when they are used appropriately. The challenge is finding the content that is right for you and your family (or perhaps finding the time to find that content). There are countless educational videos for kids online, but one of the most important steps a parent can take is to be involved. Whether that is through co-viewing or talking to your child about what they’re watching, parental involvement is vital. After all, you are the expert on your child.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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