“Television rots your brain.” In a similar vein, video games turn your mind to mush, and staring at a screen for too long potentially makes you a zombie. In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report suggesting that children under two should not have any screen time. Since the release of that report, numerous studies have emerged to address this issue of screen time, from the 2012 report Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education to Lisa Guernsey’s Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child.
Particularly when working with elementary teachers, I frequently hear concerns about screen time in the classroom, and they are not wrong. Students should learn to interact in a face-to-face setting, experience the physical world and go outside. However, much like we cannot say that all television rots our brains, we need to look beyond saying that all screen time is bad for our students. To do that, I like to ask three questions:
- Is it appropriate?
- Is it meaningful?
- Is it empowering?
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