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The Importance of Screen Time for Kids

April 20, 2014
I have recently read a good article on Forbes entitled "Research Says Screen Time Can Be Good For Your Kids". and highlighted some key points that I am sharing with you below.

The time kids spend in front of their screens is not always bad and it gets even better when shared with parents. In a research study done in the 1980s by the Children's Television Network, researchers found out that kids are more likely to learn more from watching Sesame Street with their parents.This coviewing, as they labelled it, is important for developing kids social and emotional skills.

Through parents mediation, Kids get to practice the social skills necessary for them in the world outside their home. Behaviourists highly emphasized this kind of deliberate practice for firing new neural pathways that can create and consolidate new learning habits.

Most of the games and apps available out there today are provided in an interactive format that supports collaborative team work.Instead of setting rigid boundaries and time limits on kids screen time, parents need to join their kids in their learning experiences while interacting with the screen. As Jordan argues " Interactive learning games are fantastic…They still work best when parents and children play together".

According to a 1999 study reported by Cooney Cneter Report, there are three styles of parental mediation: restrictive mediation, instructive mediation, and social coviewing:

1- Restrive Mediation:
Restrictive mediation describes the rules and restrictions we put on screen time. Some of these restrictions limit time, other restrictions filter content.

2- Instructive mediation
Instructive Mediation describes what happens when we talk to our kids while watching a movie or playing a video game with them. Make it a teaching opportunity. Ask questions. Explain to your kids the ways to think about the media experience you’re engaged in together.

3- Social Coviewing 
Social Coviewing is when you watch something with your kids but don’t necessarily talk about it….Originally, this category was imagined in a less interactive media world. But as parents, we might adapt it to our ways of thinking about playing video games with our kids.
The mediation strategy parents adopt towards their kids screen time makes all the difference in their emotional, social, and learning growth.