Disconnecting From Devices

Posted by Emily Dillard on 11/15/14 10:34 PM

It is exhausting for anyone, let alone busy parents, to attempt to keep up with evolving technology trends. Luckily, there are many organizations that publish information to help parents with tough decisions—such as “how much” is “too much” when it comes to screen time.

With hand-held media devices all around us, it can be difficult for both children and parents to disconnect. The average child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), spends seven hours a day tuned into entertainment media. If this sounds excessive, consider the sources: television, mp3s, tablets, phones, gaming devices… and the list continues.  

According to guidelines from the AAP released in October 2013, children and teens should be limited to no more than two hours of entertainment media per day. Studies show that excessive media may lead to attention, school, and sleep problems.  

Setting zones in the home that are screen-free and monitoring media intake at an early age allows parents to set boundaries that can be maintained as children grow. I also suggest that parents model healthy technology habits, perhaps declaring specific times of day when all household members—children and adults—disconnect from electronics to engage in face-to-face conversation, old-fashioned book reading, or hands-on hobbies.

Because every family is unique, there is no “magic formula” for making media judgments.

The links below offer additional resources and will provide you with the tools to make informed decisions in your home. 

American Academy of Pediatrics:  Media and Children

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Screen Time

Washington Post: How Screen Time Guidelines Came About- And How to Enforce Them

CNN: New Screen Ruled for Children form Pediatricians

Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games, and the Internet

We Can!  Screen Time Chart

Common Sense Media

Looking for a school for your child?

Lowell School is an independent school in the Colonial Village neighborhood of Washington, DC, that offers Pre-Primary, Primary, and Middle School programs. It offers a rigorous and hands-on curriculum that nurtures each child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn, and supports the development of individual voice and self-reliance. For more information, please call 202-577-2000, email admissions@lowellschool.org, or follow Lowell on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Topics: Parenting, Technology

Emily Dillard

Written by Emily Dillard

Emily has been working with children and adults and integrating technology in the PreK-12th grade setting for over a decade. She holds a master's degree in education and human development with a concentration in educational technology leadership and a bachelor's degree in elementary education.