Why limits on media are crucial

Jane Healy, PhD Educational Psychologist, shares advice for parents on why it is so important to set limits on your child's screen time and media consumption
Why Limits on Media Are Important for Children
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Why limits on media are crucial

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It's important for a parent to be in touch with the way their child is using media. It varies from age to age, but parents need to understand the content, violence for example, but also the actual amount of time that your child spends on media is going to affect their brain development. Obviously, media is an important part of all of our lives. With children, in a formative period of their intellectual skills and their actual brain development, we need to set some rules. One of them, that has been suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that children under the age of two have no screen time. Screen time, of course, includes television, video games and computers. This is a good rule. A lot of parents say, "Why?" The fact is that little brain, growing and developing according to nature's program, needs a lot of human interaction; face to face contact, lots of language stimulation, and lots of three dimensional, hands-on play, to develop the foundations for the important thinking skills that are going to come later. Once a child is in preschool or elementary school, we naturally will allow them a little more contact with various kinds of electronic media, but we still need to know what's going on. Research has shown that as screen time goes up to a certain, point, grades go down. We don't want this to happen to our children. Another issue that is very important is the growing incidents of video game addiction, especially among boys, especially among teenage boys. A wise parent thinks to themselves, "How much of this does my child really need?" and "Am I setting them up for a problem later on?" A wise parent will also make sure that there are a lot of other important things are going on in the child's life; free play, plenty of outdoor time and other things like conversation at the dinner table or even reading out loud. All of these things can have positive brain building characteristics which the television and the video games may not have.

Jane Healy, PhD Educational Psychologist, shares advice for parents on why it is so important to set limits on your child's screen time and media consumption

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Jane M. Healy, PhD

Educational Psychologist

Jane Healy is a teacher and educational psychologist who has worked with all ages from pre-school to graduate school.  Her major research interest has been in finding practical applications of current brain research for teachers and parents.  A graduate of Smith College, she holds a MA from John Carroll University, a PhD from Case Western Reserve University, and post-doctoral work in developmental neuropsychology.  She has served on the faculty of Cleveland State University. Her many years of experience include: parent, classroom teacher, reading/learning specialist, elementary administrator, and clinician.  She is recognized internationally as an author, lecturer, and consultant. She has received international media coverage, including Nightline, Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN and NPR, for her ideas about the impact of technology, media and culture on children's brain development and learning.

Although Jane has received many honors, including being twice named the "Educator of the Year" by Delta Kappa Gamma, she claims that she and her husband have learned most of what they know from the process of raising three sons (and now their six grandchildren).

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