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American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Adults to Avoid Over-Exposing Young Minds to EdTech

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Adults to Avoid Over-Exposing Young Minds to EdTech

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a series of recommendations on the use of devices by young children—and they sure are a doozy.

Using existing research, AAP’s recommendations are a nearly-scathing commentary on how damaging over-exposing young minds to technology can be.

The recommendations include a series of guidelines for parents and teachers to adhere to what is considered healthy technology use for their young children.

Overall, the over-arching message of the recommendations is that regardless of the convenience educational technology offers, parents, guardians and teachers should approach use with caution to ensure that young children are still being stimulated with adult interaction.

”. . . for children younger than 2 years, evidence for benefits of media is still limited, adult interaction with the child during media use is crucial, and there continues to be evidence of harm from excessive digital media use,” AAP says.

When it comes to the quality of edtech, AAP warns adults against trusting any app that claims to offer educational value, arguing that few programs or apps are actually well-designed and efficient in improving cognitive, literacy and social outcomes.

For that reason, the AAP essentially instructs adults to rely less on educational technology and instead rely on tried-and-true practices like social play and parent-child interactions.

"It is important to emphasize to parents that the higher-order thinking skills and executive functions essential for school success, such as task persistence, impulse control, emotion regulation, and creative, flexible thinking, are best taught through unstructured and social (not digital) play, well as responsive parent–child interactions,” the AAP says.

The AAP points to research that preschoolers who are exposed to excessive media use at a young age are more likely to demonstrate poor executive functioning and delayed learning of crucial skills.

To counteract these negative effects, the AAP advises parents to make sure that children do not use technology at least one hour before bedtime and spend only one hour or less using media per day.

"In children older than 2 years, limit media to 1 hour or less per day of high-quality programming. Recommend shared use between parent and child to promote enhanced learning, greater interaction, and limit setting. . . . Recommend no screens during meals and for 1 hour before bedtime,” they say.

For parents who feel rushed to introduce their children to technology so they are well-adjusted in a tech-driven world, the AAP has something to say about that, too.

"Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early; interfaces are so intuitive that children will figure them out quickly once they start using them at home or in school,” they said.

Read the full list of recommendations here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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