Pediatricians Rethink Screen Time Policy for Children

A medical group considers revising its recommendation of no screens under age 2 and no more than two hours a day for older children

All screens are not created equal.

skype_ipadIn a nod to the changing nature of digital media and technology, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced this month that it is starting the process of revising its ironclad guidelines for children and screens.

For more than 15 years it has advised parents to avoid screen time completely for children under the age of 2, and to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day for children older than 2.

“In a world where ‘screen time’ is becoming simply ‘time,’ our policies must evolve or become obsolete,” the AAP’s media committee wrote in an article published this month in the publication AAP News, which circulates to the academy’s 64,000 members.

Ari Brown, lead author of the article and chair of the AAP committee that’s been investigating children’s media use, noted that the 2011 statement on media use for children under age 2 was being written and published at about the same time as the first generation iPad came out. “It literally felt outdated before we even released it,” Dr. Brown said. “Technology moves faster than science can study it, so we are perpetually behind in our advice and our recommendations.”

Read more in Wall Street Journal


Kids With Disabilities Can Learn to Talk Using iPads

A voice message asking for something to eat is activated when a child with Down syndrome swipes a symbol of a cookie on his iPad. With the use of his iPad, another child with autism spells out messages to answer questions in class. Both children, though nonverbal are using the iPad to communicate with others.

This type of technology that helps nonverbal children with different types of disabilities communicate is also called assistive communication. The iPad which is the most popular mobile device that has more apps available for children barely talking, has appeared to be fun and an option for parents that have nonverbal children.

IPad usage can start at any age, you don’t have to wait for the child to start talking first to give him an iPad. According to research, teaching kids to use assistive communication can build a strong foundation for language in most children. It can help others start talking early.

The main aim of assistive communication is to help non talking kids communicate, not to replace their talking. As they grow and learn to talk, they rely less on the device.

Below are tips for parents considering an iPad for a child not yet talking.

▪ Get familiar with the iPad and its communication applications by playing and exploring with it before giving it to your child.

▪ Lock your child into the app by turn on the iPad’s Guided Access locking function under settings > general > accessibility > learning. This will stop him from getting out of the app to the home screen.

▪It is of necessity to first use the iPad alongside your child. Therefore set a passcode it to prevent it from being access by your child, when you are not there.

▪ Set restrictions under settings > general > restrictions to disable functions such as in-app purchases, Internet access, as well as movies.

▪ Protect the iPad with a sturdy case.

▪Be trained free of charge and get support.

Below are a list of mobile apps that concentrate on the development of language as well as communication skills:

  • My Talking Tom is a free app that is available on Google Play, Apple, Android and Windows phone. This app concentrates on development of speech. It helps children play with words and sounds as well as allows the child to replay how they said them.
  • Tiga Talk is available on Apple devices and it costs $4.99. This is app also targets development of speech by encouraging children to say taught speech sounds out loud.
  • Sentence Builder, which is also available on Apple device costs is $5.99. This app concentrates on language development by letting children match sentences with a picture.
  • SPEAKall! is available also on Apple devices and it is free. This app program is picture-based and allows children to make requests using simple sentences such as “I want water.”

Meet Betsy Lewin

Meet  Betsy Lewin, the author and illustrator of picture books for young readers. Betsy always loved to draw and always wanted to become an artist. Now she shares about how some of her books were created. She is the author of Thumpy Feet, You Can Do It, Cat Count, and many more.  (more…)

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