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Don’t dismiss worry over screen time -- Joanne Cantor

September 18, 2018

The Sept. 4 Associated Press story, ” New tech brings same old parental worries,” claiming parents have been concerned about new technologies since the popularization of radio (so they shouldn’t worry about “screen time”) ignores decades of scientific research on the impact of media on children.

Yes it’s true parents have been concerned about each new device that’s been introduced, but that doesn’t lead to the conclusion that they are all harmless. The author states “decades of study have failed to validate the most prevalent fear, that violent games encourage violent behavior.” And yet there is a huge amount of evidence that media violence contributes to children’s hostility and aggression, and desensitizes them to violence’s harmful impacts.

Research has also demonstrated many other negative impacts of exposure to “screens,” depending on the content being displayed and characteristics of the child. Newer technologies make it easier for kids to access anything and harder for parents to supervise their children’s choices.

Screen content can have good or bad influences -- but parents should realize it’s important to know what your kids are up to online, and worthwhile to help them choose healthier and less harmful activities (both on screen and in real life).

Joanne Cantor, Monona

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