48-Hour Screen-Time Experiment: What Happens When Kids Have No Limits

From the Good Morning America segment:

“Every parent I know complains about the battle: Being the screen police with their kids. How much screen time? When can the kids have it? And how do you get them to power off when their time limit is up?

The dream is that kids will self-regulate their screen time and turn the devices off after a moderate amount of use. But how far from that reality are we?

The Harding family of Menlo Park, California, decided they would try to find out.”

PHOTO: The Harding family of Menlo Park, Calif., let their four children, 6-year-old Cooper, 9-year-old Spencer, 11-year-old twins Jackson and Kaitlyn, regulate their own screen time for 48 hours.

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Your Kid’s Phone Is Not Like a Cigarette

Interesting editorial in today’s NY Times.  Here’s an excerpt:

A new national ad campaign, “Truth About Tech,” is designed to expose the ways that platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook are harmful to children and to “protect young minds from digital manipulation and exploitation.”

Organized by the nonprofits Common Sense and the Center for Humane Technology, it has been compared by its organizers to the “Truth” anti-tobacco campaign, which, beginning in 1999, rolled out ads — including images of body bags placed outside a major tobacco company to represent the number of people killed by tobacco each day — that are credited with helping to slash teenage smoking rates.

“Think of it like the Truth campaign for cigarettes. If you remember the 1990s TV ads, it was not saying, ‘Hey, this is going to have this bad health consequences for you if you smoke,’” Tristan Harris, the founder and executive director of the Center for Humane Technology, said in a February interview about the campaign with Vox.com. “The Truth campaign was about telling you the truth about how they design it deliberately to be addictive.”

But an anti-tobacco campaign is not an ideal model for the effort to make technology safer for children. Because while there’s plenty of concern about overuse of technology among young people, the actual evidence of addictiveness and harm is much more complex than it was in the case of cigarettes.

Is Tech Affecting Students’ Handwriting?

Increasing use of technology has affected students hand strength leading to difficulty holding pens and pencils, says Sally Payne of the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust. Activities such as cutting, playing with building blocks and pulling ropes can help students develop proper writing grip, Payne notes.

Check out this Guardian article for more.

Teacher and children

America’s Real Digital Divide

From an interesting op-ed in today’s NY Times:

“A group of former Facebook and Google employees last week began a campaign to change the tech companies they had a hand in creating. The initiative, called Truth About Tech, aims to push these companies to make their products less addictive for children — and it’s a good start.  But there’s more to the problem. If you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens.”

Watching the Winter Olympics Online with the Kids

Tablettoddlers plans on watching the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony with the kids tonight at 8:00 pm EST.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking full advantage of all Comcast Xfinity has to offer in ways of watching both online and off.  They’ve made it easy to personalize our viewing experience on X1 and the streaming app.  We’re fans of using the voice remote for EVERYTHING.  For the Olympics, just say “Olympics Home” to get started.  Ridiculously easy.

There are 50 virtual channels on X1 including dedicated ones to hockey and curling.  For quick updates, just press the “C” button, or as my kids call it, the “sports” button, or say “sports app” on the voice remote and you can get updated on specific competitions, athletes, country medal counts and sport specific video clips to binge.

Instant On Demand ensures you won’t miss a moment of primetime action.  Just select or say “restart” and you’re all set.  Otherwise, all competitions are available next day On Demand in high def or 4K.

Go USA!

Image result for Olympic rings

Experts Pan Facebook’s Messenger Kids App

From the great Axios newsletter:

Child development experts and advocates are urging Facebook to pull the plug on its new messaging app aimed at kids, AP reports:

  • “A group letter sent [today] to CEO Mark Zuckerberg argues that younger children — the app is intended for those under 13 — aren’t ready to have social media accounts, navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy.”
  • “Facebook launched the free Messenger Kids app in December, pitching it as a way for children to chat with family members and parent-approved friends. It doesn’t give kids separate Facebook or Messenger accounts. Rather, the app works as an extension of a parent’s account, and parents get controls such as the ability to decide who their kids can chat with.”
  • The letter, signed by psychiatrists, pediatricians, educators and the children’s music singer Raffi Cavoukian: “Messenger Kids is not responding to a need — it is creating one … It appeals primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts.”
  • Facebook’s response: The app “helps parents and children to chat in a safer way.” Parents are “always in control … [T]here is no advertising in Messenger Kids.”