Healthy Choices for Food…and Screen Time
Just as parents need to make sure their children eat a mix of healthy foods – with reasonable limits on junk food and sweets – we need to have the same mindset about what our children watch. That’s the message of a recent New York Times article: Limiting, and Watching, What Children Watch, by Lisa Guernsey, and I couldn’t agree more!
Most, if not all, of the parents I know have implemented a “screen time” limit for their kids, where screen time includes watching TV or movies, and playing games on the computer or handhelds. Most parents also want to make sure these screen time choices are age-appropriate, but find it difficult to really know which TV shows or movies are “healthy” and which are “junk food”.
Knowing What Games and Programs are Healthy Screen Time for Kids
Lisa’s book Into the Minds of Babes was an eye-opener to me about the available research on what makes a TV show or a computer game healthy or not, and what children can learn from them. I recommend to it all parents. It influenced how I choose what my two young sons are watching and doing at home.
Her point of view has been influential here at DreamBox Learning too. For example, learning about the the intensive testing that Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues have done to understand how their shows impact kids has led us to do even more testing of our product. Our goals are very much in the spirit Lisa describes – to make our product “healthy” screen time, helping kids learn real math and have fun doing it, so that parents will offer it to their children on a regular basis without viewing it as “junk food for the brain.”