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The Messy Truth About Kids’ Screen Time

  • July 26, 2021

She is a fan of apps from Toca Boca and Sago Mini that encourage young children to explore open-ended games without much instruction. Dr. Russo Johnson’s company, OK Play, makes children and their families the central characters of stories and games.

That’s not to say that more passive activities like watching a video are all bad, she said. When it’s possible, it can be great for parents to engage with their children as they use an app, read a book or watch onscreen, but not always. Alone time is good for kids, too. Again, no rules!

If you pay no attention to what your children do online, they could find some bad corners of the internet. But Dr. Russo Johnson said that parents shouldn’t overly worry if children break out of a carefully manicured digital world. She said that she once was showing her 4-year-old daughter videos of French songs, walked away for a little while and came back to see her daughter watching YouTube videos depicting toys acting out badly scripted story lines.

Instead of freaking out, Dr. Russo Johnson said that it was helpful to ask herself why her daughter might have been drawn to those videos.

She acknowledges that the lack of clear rules and the quantity of technology available to children can also feel like a burden. “With streaming and apps, anyone can publish anything, which puts more work on the parents,” she said.

I asked her why the expert recommendations and many parents’ beliefs about children and technology were focused on fear for so long.

Dr. Russo Johnson said that those views reflect perennial anxieties about children and the ways that we react to anything new.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/technology/kids-screen-time.html

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