American Academy of Pediatrics Comes Into the Twenty First Century Regarding Electronics and Children Just in Time to Stop Parental Guilt Over Parents’ Reality

American Academy of PediatricsThis Grandma never understood the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations that children, ages two and under, have absolutely no exposure to screens and for other children limiting screen time to under two hours a day.

Being a grandma, electronics are the best thing to be discovered and I could not care what the recommendations were. I could take my grandchildren to any restaurant and they behaved like angels with an electonics screen in front of them. Baby grandchildren stop crying and push buttons, getting to where they want to go in less than a minute when less than one year old. Tantrums stop. Crying stops. Playtime begins. . . with grandma playing electronic games with grandchildren, they teaching me theirs and me teaching them Bingo!

However, grandmas have no responsibility and all joy, and it fell upon the hard working parents of our grandchildren to feel guilty over the electronics time the children ARE having. Finally the American Academy of Pediatrics has come into the 21st Century regarding electronics. . . Just in time to stop parental guilt over parents’ reality.

On the AAP News, on line, the AAP says, “As we know, however, scientific research and policy statements lag behind the pace of digital innovation.” They admit, “Case in point: The 2011 AAP policy statement Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years was drafted prior to the first generation iPad and explosion of apps aimed at young children.’ They face reality with their admission, “Today, more than 30% of U.S. children first play with a mobile device when they still are in diapers, according to Common Sense Media. Furthermore, almost 75% of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones, and 24% admit using their phones almost constantly, according to the Pew Research Center.”

What took the American Academy of Pediatrics so long? This year they held an invitation only symposium. “The following key messages for parents emerged:”

*“Media is just another environment. Children do the same things they have always done, only virtually. Like any environment, media can have positive and negative effects.”

Really! My grandchildren are forbidden to watch SpongeBob because their parents find it too violent. They are forbidden to watch SpongeBob on line, in the house, on the street, anywhere.

*“Parenting has not changed. The same parenting rules apply to your children’s real and virtual environments. Play with them. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Teach kindness. Be involved. Know their friends and where they are going with them.”

So, AAP has taken THIS time to scold parents for families having two working parents and are trying to get through the hard job of parenting!

*“Role modeling is critical. Limit your own media use, and model online etiquette. Attentive parenting requires face time away from screens.”

Now this recommendation has merit. It is just like us grandmas pointing out the adorable things our grandchildren do every minute of every day to their parents. We grandmas realize how we can see the world anew through our grandchildren’s eyes. We grandmas know how time flies and the adorable toddler, yes, even throwing a tantrum, will be leaving for college in a blink of the eye. We know much of the time, now, it is taking the eyes of the parents of the grandchildren OFF THEIR ELECTRONIC to see what the child is doing! As I say to any parent, what you don’t want your child to model do after they go to bed. I agree that ‘attentive parenting requires face time away from screens’. . . .parents’ own screens.

*“We learn from each other. Neuroscience research shows that very young children learn best via two-way communication. “Talk time” between caregiver and child remains critical for language development. Passive video presentations do not lead to language learning in infants and young toddlers. The more media engender live interactions, the more educational value they may hold (e.g., a toddler chatting by video with a parent who is traveling). Optimal educational media opportunities begin after age 2, when media may play a role in bridging the learning achievement gap.”

Wow! Play on electronics WITH children. Encourage FaceTime with GRANDMA!

*“Content matters. The quality of content is more important than the platform or time spent with media. Prioritize how your child spends his time rather than just setting a timer.”

Ditto. SpongeBob is not our friend.

*Curation helps. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research validates their quality . . . . An interactive product requires more than “pushing and swiping” to teach. Look to organizations like Common Sense Media  that review age-appropriate apps, games and programs.”

Curation. . . .why not say pick apps wisely. This Grandma loves Common Sense Media. Take a look before you take a grandchild to the movies and know what to expect in the way of violence, language, etc. The parents of our grandchildren think Common Sense Media is conservative. Just so you know. This Grandma must be conservative. I agree with the AAP. I love the resource.

*“Co-engagement counts. Family participation with media facilitates social interactions and learning. Play a video game with your kids. Your perspective influences how your children understand their media experience. For infants and toddlers, co-viewing is essential.”

Save this one for when the parents of your grandchildren complain that you have been playing Bingo with a grandchild for an hour. Oops! At least, this Grandma talks to the grandchildren when playing Bingo with them. This Grandma loves shopping. Try shopping with grandchildren. Explain “window shopping.” Create Amazon wish lists for holidays and birthdays with the grandchildren. Show them . Teach them how to be consumers on line. For example, how retailers will give you a percentage off if you put something in a cart on line and then do not buy it or within a few days will send you a discount coupon code. Teach them about “friends and family’ discounts. Great lessons in delayed gratification and planning from grandma never hurt.

*“Playtime is important. Unstructured playtime stimulates creativity. Prioritize daily unplugged playtime, especially for the very young.”

This is where grandma buys blocks or Legos for the grandchild and grandpa builds with the grandchild.

*“Set limits. Tech use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Does your child’s technology use help or hinder participation in other activities?”

This Grandma gives more credit to parents than the AAP. The parents this Grandma knows spend all of their free time on their children’s activities, coaching soccer, driving hither and yon to birthday parties and dance lessons. Electronics give parents breaks, and especially grandparents breaks.

*“It’s OK for your teen to be online. Online relationships are integral to adolescent development. Social media can support identity formation. Teach your teen appropriate behaviors that apply in both the real and online worlds. Ask teens to demonstrate what they are doing online to help you understand both content and context.”

This Grandma thinks this recommendation is too vague. Teenagers are like two year olds. They need greater monitoring than the recommendation recommends. Parents should enlist us grandmas. Grandchildren will share even their passwords with us. WE can help parents monitor teenage grandchildren.

*“Create tech-free zones. Preserve family mealtime. Recharge devices overnight outside your child’s bedroom. These actions encourage family time, healthier eating habits and healthier sleep.”

Great recommendation. I wish they put this recommendation in capital letters.

*“Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. These can be teachable moments if handled with empathy. Certain aberrations, however, such as sexting or posting self-harm images, signal a need to assess youths for other risk-taking behaviors.”

Children press buttons. It is amazing how they are unafraid. They also end up messing up electronics for us. However, they also change my wallpaper, teach me new tricks, and overall know much more than me about electronics. This Grandma thinks we should give the grandchildren great credit and allow them to teach grandparents and parents alike. That is quality time too.

*“Digital life begins at a young age, and so must parental guidance. Children who are “growing up digital” should learn healthy concepts of digital citizenship.”

Finally! A recognition that this grandchildren generation is a digital generation. Those of us predigital generationers should respect this new world and the place of our grandchildren in it. Parents have been doing this for a while. The so called “experts” have finally caught up.

Parental guilt should go out the window! About electronics, as well as everything else. The children will grow up fine with loving and caring parents. . . . and especially loving and caring grandparents.

If you want to read the full study information on line, here is the link.

Joy,

Mema

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