In this episode, we’re talking about kids and media consumption - what does science say about screen time? How do we sort out the fear mongering from the useful data? What are our own practices in the Camacho household, and what might we want to change?
Leslie introduces the topic with some thoughts on the balance of screen time and other activities. We talk about how we want our kids to enjoy a wide variety of activities without relying on digital media to keep themselves entertained.
Laura presents her thoughts on the research on screen time. The data is inconclusive. While scientists have made some observations in some populations, even those are not consistent across all populations. Laura rants about the tons of junk "science" reports acting like correlation is causation, and villifying screen time as the source of all evil and unhappiness in the world. The bottom line is, this is a new area of research and it's going to take probably another decade to be able to make any conclusive statements.
The only evidence that shocked Laura was that across many studies, kids are apparently averaging around 6-8 hours of entertainment (not including in-school or homework-related) screentime per day. The Camacho household limits kids to 2 hours of screen-based entertainment on most days, so this left us feeling like maybe our concerns about how much time our kids are on screens are misplaced!
If you read nothing else on the subject of screentime, this NPR interview with Jordan Shapiro, a Temple University professor whose background is in philosophy and psychology, is golden. Shapiro's guiding principle of parenting in the digital age is engagement and relationship.
Laura loved this because it goes back to the basics of episode 80: the most important indicator of raising successful adults is parents who created a warm, trusting, emotionally-connected/involved relationship with their kids. We need to do this for our kids within the digital world.
We have to engage digital content alongside our kids, and teach them when they are very young how to be discerning of the content they consume, compassionate in their treatment of the people hidden by their avatars, etc.
Leslie takes a turn ranting about privacy issues, brain hacking, and the general evilness of Big Tech - knowledge from which we should not shelter our kids.
We circle back to a sense of optimism: This isn't as fraught as it seems; we just have to be realistic about our situation. We have entered the digital age, we are parents of the digital age, and our parenting is going to have to evolve if it’s going to be effective. Ironically, that evolution only needs to widen the same basic principles of good parenting (connection, trust, conversation) to include the digital world.Support Glimmering Podcast
- Forget Screen Time Rules — Lean In To Parenting Your Wired Child, Author Says : NPR — If we want to get rid of the horrible stuff happening on Twitter right now, then we need to model it for kids when they're 7 and all they want to do is be like their parents.
- Landmark Report: U.S. Teens Use an Average of Nine Hours of Media Per Day, Tweens Use Six Hours | Common Sense Media — Common Sense Media finds that teenagers (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.
- Screen time kids study: Groundbreaking study examines effects of screen time on kids - 60 Minutes - CBS News — ...your telephone in the 1970s didn't have a thousand engineers on the other side of the telephone who were redesigning it to work with other telephones and then updating the way your telephone worked every day to be more and more persuasive.
- What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care - CBS News — An Anderson Cooper interview with Silicon developer Tristan Harris, on "brain hacking" - how technology is created to be addictive.
- The Orville - Wikipedia — A show we are watching and discussing in real time with Sophia.
- ABCD Study — The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded leading researchers in the fields of adolescent development and neuroscience to conduct this ambitious project.
- Is Screen Time Bad for Kids’ Brains? - The New York Times — A very thorough commentary on the ABCD study. I don't usually link to paywalled content, but this one is worth the use of one of your free NYT reads, if you are interested in this topic.
- The 21st Century Skinner Box - Behavioral Scientist — A truly chilling look at how Big Tech can manipulate our preferences.
- Why I don’t worry about my kids’ screen time, Part 1 | Project Based Homeschooling — This is a fantastic series of blog posts about active vs. passive screen time, scarcity vs. abundance mindset about activities, and an altogether sane and respectful approach to teaching kids priorities and limits. The links to the rest in the series are listed at the bottom of the linked post.
- How I limited screen time by offering my kids unlimited screen time. | Narrowback Slacker — This is how the Camacho household aspires to run its screen agreements - the list of requirements must be met before screens go on.
- Distance Over Time (Bonus Track Version) by Dream Theater on Apple Music — Barstool Warrior is one of Dream Theater's best songs. The rest of the album is great too!
- This Land by Gary Clark Jr. on Apple Music — The title track, This Land, hits me in the gut. "I'm America's son." Damn straight.
- The Verdict by Queensrÿche on Apple Music — The 3rd album with "new" lead singer Todd La Torre is their best yet with this lineup.
- Gary Clark Jr - This Land [Official Music Video] - YouTube — Required viewing for Glimmering listeners.