Finally, an evidence-based, don't-panic guide to what to do about kids and screens.
Today's babies often make their debut on social media with the very first sonogram. They begin interacting with screens at around four months old. But is this good news or bad news? A wonderful opportunity to connect around the world? Or the first step in creating a generation of addled screen zombies?
Many have been quick to declare this the dawn of a neurological and emotional crisis, but solid science on the subject is surprisingly hard to come by. In The Art of Screen Time, Anya Kamenetz--an expert on education and technology, as well as a mother of two young children--takes a refreshingly practical look at the subject. Surveying hundreds of fellow parents on their practices and ideas, and cutting through a thicket of inconclusive studies and overblown claims, she hones a simple message, a riff on Michael Pollan's well-known "food rules": Enjoy Screens. Not too much. Mostly with others.
This brief but powerful dictum forms the backbone of a philosophy that will help parents moderate technology in their children's lives, curb their own anxiety, and create room for a happy, healthy family life with and without screens.
"How to deal with devices and screens is one of the biggest challenges for today's parents. With The
Art of Screen Time, Anya Kamenetz comes to the rescue. Marshalling the latest science, she provides an indispensable guide to helping children-and families-thrive in the digital age."Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global
"Finally, a reasonable, well-researched argument to cut through all the hype, fear and hysteria around screens, kids, families, and our most precious and limited resources: our time and what we pay attention to. Screens are here to stay.
Anya Kamenetz provides a welcome, science-based guide for all of us to learn how to use them wisely."Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time, and director of The Better Life Lab at New America
"Blending scholarly evidence and the experiences of numerous families, The Art of Screen Time is a well-researched and reassuring guide to raising kids in a world where technology is everywhere."Danah Boyd, author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
"A thoughtful,From the Publisher
evidence-based guide to technology that reads like having a conversation with a good friend-who also happens to be incredibly smart, honest, and witty....
Refreshingly, Kamenetz is a realist and does not condemn technology in the home.... [she] sheds a critical, yet supportive light on our relationship with technology...a must-read for any parent."Booklist
Advice for parents on how to deal with the intrusion of digital media into family life.What does it mean that children today spend more of their waking hours on electronic media than on any other activity, including school? NPR lead digital education correspondent Kamenetz (The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing—But You Don't Have to Be, 2015, etc.) has done her homework, examining the research on this issue and weighing the evidence pro and con. Unfortunately, the experts have little conclusive data to provide when they look at the possible effects of digital media on aggression, depression, ADHD, and poor performance in school and on standardized tests. Obesity and sleep disorders are the two major problems generally associated with screen time. After reporting on what various experts have discovered (or not), the author turns to parents who have dealt directly with this issue, discussing their rules regarding their children's use of technology. Again, the answers vary in usefulness, but parents reading these stories may find some approaches to adopt as their own. Many readers may choose to skim all but the final chapter, in which the author—who admits "no judgment" if "you don't have any time to read the rest of this book"—gives a 10-point summary of what a parent needs to know. A major point is that sleep and screen time don't mix, which leads to the rule to allow no devices up to an hour before bedtime. Parents will also find advice about engaging with their children on digital media by talking to them about what they are seeing, who they are connecting with on social networks, or even learning to play a video game with them. Ultimately, Kamenetz adapts Michael Pollan's advice about food to screen time: "Enjoy screens; not too much; mostly together."Enough material for a solid magazine piece, stretched out to fill a book. Skip to the last chapter.