Tag Archives: TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems

If kids must watch television, parents must be selective about programs children watch

20 Feb

Moi said this in Play is as important for children as technology:

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.

The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.

On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.

For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers.

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play.https://drwilda.com/2012/09/16/play-is-as-important-for-children-as-technology/

Seattle Children’s Hospital reports on a television study in the article, For children’s behavior, TV content as important as quantity:

Children imitate what they see on the screen, both good and bad behavior. This effect of television and video programming can be applied to positively impact children’s behavior according to a study published online in Pediatrics on Feb. 18. The study, “Modifying media content for preschool children: A randomized controlled trial,” was led by Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Media diet study

Researchers in Seattle studied 565 families with children aged three to five years who spent at least some time watching TV or video content each week. Half of the families were randomly assigned to a “media diet” intervention while the other half, “the control group,” received a nutritional diet intervention designed to promote healthier eating habits. “For the media diet, we coached families on how to substitute prosocial and educational programs for violent ones,” said Christakis.

What is prosocial content?

Prosocial programming encourages children to be kind and to share, and portrays adults as dependable.

The intervention addressed all screen time (TV, DVDs and videos, computer, video games, handheld devices, etc.), but the primary focus was on TV and videos because this accounts for the vast majority of screen time in preschool-aged children.

How families followed a media diet

Families in both groups kept media diaries and provided details on the amount of time spent watching TV, videos and other types of screen time. The research team distributed monthly program guides and a sample DVD of prosocial content that would appeal to boys, girls and diverse populations. Families were also steered to Common Sense Media, which provides ratings for family movies, TV shows, websites and video games.

The intervention did not attempt to reduce the number of hours of screen time for the children, but it did encourage a positive media diet and co-viewing with parents. A case manager followed up with families regularly for 12 months. At six months and 12 months, the children in the media diet intervention group were spending significantly less time on violent programming than they did at the start of the study, compared to the control group.

Both the intervention and control groups increased viewing time slightly during the study, but the control group increased its minutes of violent content, while the intervention group increased its minutes of prosocial and educational content.

At six months, the children in the intervention group demonstrated significantly less aggression and more prosocial behavior compared to the control group, and the effect lasted throughout the 12 months. Christakis and team concluded that such an intervention can positively impact child behavior.

Content as important as quantity

We often focus on how much kids watch and don’t focus enough on what they watch,” Christakis said. “While too many children watch too much TV, this study shows that content is as important as quantity.  It isn’t just about turning off the TV, it’s about changing the channel.”

Christakis said the public health description for a media diet is that it’s a harm reduction approach, similar to a needle exchange, condom distribution or a methadone clinic for heroin addicts. “The media diet reduces the risks associated with TV,” he said.

What about parents who didn’t take part in the study? “Parents could absolutely implement the media diet on their own,” said Christakis.

Implement a media diet in your home: Dr. Christakis’ tips for parents

• Keep a media diary to make sure you’re aware of the TV and movies your child is watching
• Choose less violent and more prosocial content for your kids to watch, via sites like Common Sense Media
• Watch TV and movies with your children, so that you’re more aware of the content

Resources:

Promoting health early child development: An update and research agenda from the Christakis Lab, January 2013
New study links violent videos to sleep problems in preschool children, August 2012,
Pediatrics
Infant brains more engaged when playing with interactive toys: Study, July 2012,
Journal of Pediatrics
Powerpuff Girls vs. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Media impact on early childhood development, January 2012, TEDxRainier http://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/for-childrens-behavior-tv-content-as-important-as-quantity/

See, Study: Changing the Channel Could Lessen Bad Influence of TV http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/study-changing-the-channel-could-lessen-bad-influence-of-tv/

Citation:

Modifying Media Content for Preschool Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  1. Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPHa,b,
  2. Michelle M. Garrison, PhDa,c,
  3. Todd Herrenkohl, PhDd,
  4. Kevin Haggerty, MSWd,
  5. Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPHa,b,
  6. Chuan Zhou, PhDa,b, and
  7. Kimberly Liekweg, BAa

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aCenter for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington; and
  2. Departments of bPediatrics and
  3. cHealth Services, and
  4. dSchool of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although previous studies have revealed that preschool-aged children imitate both aggression and prosocial behaviors on screen, there have been few population-based studies designed to reduce aggression in preschool-aged children by modifying what they watch.

METHODS: We devised a media diet intervention wherein parents were assisted in substituting high quality prosocial and educational programming for aggression-laden programming without trying to reduce total screen time. We conducted a randomized controlled trial of 565 parents of preschool-aged children ages 3 to 5 years recruited from community pediatric practices. Outcomes were derived from the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation at 6 and 12 months.

RESULTS: At 6 months, the overall mean Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation score was 2.11 points better (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78–3.44) in the intervention group as compared with the controls, and similar effects were observed for the externalizing subscale (0.68 [95% CI: 0.06–1.30]) and the social competence subscale (1.04 [95% CI: 0.34–1.74]). The effect for the internalizing subscale was in a positive direction but was not statistically significant (0.42 [95% CI: −0.14 to 0.99]). Although the effect sizes did not noticeably decay at 12 months, the effect on the externalizing subscale was no longer statistically significant (P = .05). In a stratified analysis of the effect on the overall scores, low-income boys appeared to derive the greatest benefit (6.48 [95% CI: 1.60–11.37]).

CONCLUSIONS: An intervention to reduce exposure to screen violence and increase exposure to prosocial programming can positively impact child behavior.

Published online February 18, 2013

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1493)

  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text (PDF)

In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare, moi wrote:

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Is Television the New Secondhand Smoke?

Prior research suggests background television can have a “chronic disruptive impact on very young children’s behavior.” Studies have linked background television to less focused play among toddlers, poorer parent-child interaction, and interference with older students’ ability to do homework.

For every minute of television to which children are directly exposed, there are an
additional 3 minutes of indirect exposure, making background exposure a much greater
proportion of time in a young child’s day,” the study noted.

Considering the accumulating evidence regarding the impact that background television exposure has on young children, we were rather floored about the sheer scale of children’s exposure with just under 4 hours of exposure each day,” Lapierre said in a statement on the study. Lapierre and his fellow researchers recommended that parents, teachers and early childcare providers turn off televisions when no one is watching a particular program and that parents prevent children from keeping a television in their rooms.

It’s easy to think about this as just one more alarm about how our modern media environment is ruining our kids. Yet the more interesting take-away from this field of research is how critical it is for children to learn actively and socially. Children learn from adults speaking to, with and around them, and from actively engaging with their world.

Anything that limits or distracts from that active interaction can be a problem, but not an insurmountable one. For example, researchers at the University of Washington’s Learning in Formal and Informal Environments, or LIFE, Center, is doing some fascinating work on the potential benefits of interactive media. There’s also been some interesting work on using video conferencing to read with children. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/04/is_television_the_new_secondha.html?intc=es

If watching television is not an appropriate activity for toddlers, then what are appropriate activities? The University of Illinois Extension has a good list of Age-Based Activities For Toddlers

See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/23/television-cannot-substitute-for-quality-childcare/

Related:

Study: Children subject to four hours background television daily                                                                              https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/study-children-subject-to-fours-background-television-daily/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance                                                               https://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                 http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

1 Nov

Moi wrote in Study: Children subject to four hours background television daily:

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.

The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.

On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.

For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers.

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play. https://drwilda.com/2012/09/16/play-is-as-important-for-children-as-technology/

https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/study-children-subject-to-fours-background-television-daily/

Teachers were surveyed about how how home media choices affect a child’ ability to learn.

Here is the press release from Common Sense Media:

Entertainment Media Diets of Children and Adolescents May Impact Learning

Teachers cite negative effect on students’ attention spans, writing, and face-to-face communication

For immediate release

Thursday, November 1, 2012

San Francisco, CA — A new study on the role of media and technology in kids’ lives reveals that many teachers suspect the quantity and quality of kids’ at-home media choices may be negatively impacting their in-class performance.

The report, “Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom,” is the latest research from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media. Based on a nationally representative survey of 685 classroom teachers, the findings include:

  • 71% of teachers believe students’ entertainment media use — the TV shows, video games, texting, and social networking they do for fun at home — has hurt students’ attention spans “a lot” or “somewhat”;
  • 59% believe such media use has hurt students’ abilities to communicate face to face;
  • 58% say students’ writing skills have been negatively impacted by their use of entertainment media; and
  • Nearly half of teachers (48%) believe students’ media use has hurt the quality of their homework.

These concerns about the impact of entertainment media on students’ academic skills were consistent whether the teachers described themselves as “tech-savvy” or less comfortable with new media; whether they were new to the classroom or teaching veterans; and whether they taught at high- or low-income schools. Among teachers who say their students’ academic skills have mainly been hurt by entertainment media, more than two-thirds point the finger at video games (68%) and texting (66%).

At the same time, 63% of teachers say entertainment media has helped students hone their ability to find information quickly and efficiently, and 34% say it has helped students’ ability to multi-task effectively.  

“The social, emotional, and cognitive impact of media and technology on our kids is of paramount importance to Common Sense Media,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “We know that our children learn from the media they consume. This survey is yet another reminder of how critical it is to consistently guide our kids to make good media choices and balance the amount of time they spend with any media and all of their other activities.”

In terms of social development, more than two-thirds of teachers (67%) believe that entertainment media has a “very” or “somewhat” negative impact on students’ sexualization, and 61% say the same about students’ ideas about relationships between boys and girls. Among teachers who believe students’ social development has been negatively affected by entertainment media, the blame falls primarily on television (71%), movies (61%), music (56%), and social networking (55%). In comments throughout the online survey, several teachers noted a positive impact from entertainment media on students’ engagement with the world and their exposure to diverse viewpoints.  

“There have been several important surveys of teachers about the use of media and technology as a learning tool in the classroom, but few, if any, that explore what teachers think about the impact of media use by students at home,” said Vicky Rideout, president of VJR Consulting, who authored the study for Common Sense Media. “Teachers’ opinions are important because besides parents, teachers are the adults who spend the greatest amount of time with children and adolescents every day.”

While the survey offers educators’ unique and important perspective on entertainment media use and academic performance and social development, it does not quantify academic achievement and correlate results with children’s patterns of media use. For more information about the key findings of this survey, or for details about the Program for the Study of Children and Media, visit www.commonsense.org/research.

Methodology
The report is based on a survey of 685 public and private K-12 classroom teachers in the U.S. It was conducted for Common Sense Media by Knowledge Networks, now a part of GfK Group, from May 5-17, 2012. The survey was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of teachers who had been recruited to the online panel through probability-based sampling methods including address-based sampling and random-digit-dial telephone surveys. “Entertainment media” was defined as the TV shows, music, video games, texting, iPods, cell phone games, social networking sites, apps, computer programs, online videos, and websites students use for fun outside of school. The exact question wording is included in the full report, along with many verbatim comments from individual teachers.    

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, visit: www.commonsense.org.

Press Contacts
Crista Sumanik
csumanik@commonsense.org
415-553-6780

Julia Plonowski
jplonowski@commonsense.org
415-553-6728

Citation:

Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View From The Classroom

A Common Sense Media Research Study – NEW REPORT

November 1, 2012

A national survey of teachers about the role of entertainment media in students’ academic and social development.

Read the summary

Download the full report

Some parents use television and technology as a substitute for appropriate childcare.

In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare, moi wrote:           Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Is Television the New Secondhand Smoke?

Prior research suggests background television can have a “chronic disruptive impact on very young children’s behavior.” Studies have linked background television to less focused play among toddlers, poorer parent-child interaction, and interference with older students’ ability to do homework.

For every minute of television to which children are directly exposed, there are an
additional 3 minutes of indirect exposure, making background exposure a much greater
proportion of time in a young child’s day,” the study noted.

Considering the accumulating evidence regarding the impact that background television exposure has on young children, we were rather floored about the sheer scale of children’s exposure with just under 4 hours of exposure each day,” Lapierre said in a statement on the study. Lapierre and his fellow researchers recommended that parents, teachers and early childcare providers turn off televisions when no one is watching a particular program and that parents prevent children from keeping a television in their rooms.

It’s easy to think about this as just one more alarm about how our modern media environment is ruining our kids. Yet the more interesting take-away from this field of research is how critical it is for children to learn actively and socially. Children learn from adults speaking to, with and around them, and from actively engaging with their world.

Anything that limits or distracts from that active interaction can be a problem, but not an insurmountable one. For example, researchers at the University of Washington’s Learning in Formal and Informal Environments, or LIFE, Center, is doing some fascinating work on the potential benefits of interactive media. There’s also been some interesting work on using video conferencing to read with children. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/04/is_television_the_new_secondha.html?intc=es

If watching television is not an appropriate activity for toddlers, then what are appropriate activities? The University of Illinois Extension has a good list of Age-Based Activities For Toddlers

See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/23/television-cannot-substitute-for-quality-childcare/

Related:

UK study: Overexposure to technology makes children miserable https://drwilda.com/2012/10/31/uk-study-overexposure-to-technology-makes-children-miserable/

Study: Teens who are ‘sexting’ more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior                                                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/study-teens-who-are-sexting-more-likely-to-engage-in-risky-sexual-behavior/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                        http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                   https://drwilda.com/

Study: Children subject to four hours background television daily

2 Oct

Moi said this in Play is as important for children as technology:

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.

The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.

On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.

For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers.

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play.https://drwilda.com/2012/09/16/play-is-as-important-for-children-as-technology/

Alice Park writes in Time about a new study by Professor Matthew Lapierre, Background TV: Children Exposed to Four Hours a Day:

Matthew Lapierre, an assistant professor of communications studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his colleagues conducted the first study to quantify how much background TV young children are exposed to on an average day. While many previous studies have focused on the effects of direct TV viewing on children’s behavior and development, Lapierre’s was the first to investigate what might be considered “secondhand” TV exposure, defined as any exposure to television that the child is not actually watching.

To the authors’ surprise, in the survey of 1,454 parents with at least one child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years, the scientists found that children were subjected to nearly four hours of background TV a day. “We were all startled by the scale of the exposure in these homes,” says Lapierre, who conducted the research while at the University of Pennsylvania. “We went into the study expecting the rates to be high, but not at the scale we found.”

The households were recruited by a phone survey group, which enrolled typical American families that represented a broad range of demographic variables, from ethnicity to income and education. Parents answered questionnaires about the activities of one of their children in a 24-hour period, and were asked about whether a television was on during any of these activities. On average, background exposure amounted to 232.3 minutes a day, with exposure being greatest for younger children: infants and toddlers under 24 months logged about 5.5 hours of background TV a day, compared with 2.75 hours a day for the oldest children, aged 6 to 8.

Parental influences played the greatest role in determining how much background TV children experienced. Other factors that increased indirect TV exposure included living in a single-parent family, where children were exposed to more than 5 hours a day, compared with 3.5 hours in multiparent homes; lower household income, with children in the poorest families experiencing 6 hours of background TV a day, compared with 3.5 hours among those whose family income reached above the poverty level; and lower parental education, with children of parents with high school diplomas or less being exposed to more than 5 hours a day, compared with less than 2.5 hours a day for those whose parents had more formal education.

The data were alarming given that children under age 6 already watch about 80 minutes of television a day directly; these findings suggest that indirect TV exposure is greater than direct watching, and could have equally, or potentially more serious effects on children’s development. Studies have linked excessive TV viewing with obesity in children, while violent and sexually inappropriate programming has been correlated with behavioral and cognitive problems in young viewers. (In contrast, educational programming has been associated with learning and cognitive benefits.)

Lapierre says that his study also hints at difficulties with executive function and self-regulation among kids who are exposed to more background TV, but those findings are still preliminary and will be explored in more detail in additional studies. While his study did not explore the consequences of indirect TV exposure, previous trials suggest that it can affect children’s concentration and behavior in relationships. In one such study, conducted at the University of Massachusetts, scientists observed parents and their toddlers as one group interacted in the presence of a television and the other group interacted without a TV. In the television group, despite the fact that the parents and children were not watching the programmining, their interactions were less frequent and the children’s play episodes were shorter. http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/02/background-tv-children-exposed-to-four-hours-a-day/#ixzz28DN53J3K

Citation:

Background Television in the Homes of US Children

  1. Matthew A. Lapierre, MAa,
  2. Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, PhDb, and
  3. Deborah L. Linebarger, PhDc

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aCommunication Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina;
  2. bThe Amsterdam School of Communication Research, Department of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and
  3. cDepartment of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
    Abstract

OBJECTIVE: US parents were surveyed to determine the amount of background television that their children are exposed to as well as to isolate demographic factors associated with increased exposure to background television. After this, we ask how certain home media practices are linked to children’s background television exposure.

METHODS: US parents/caregivers (N = 1454) with 1 child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years participated in this study. A nationally representative telephone survey was conducted. Parents were asked to report on their child’s exposure to background television via a 24-hour time diary. Parents were also asked to report relevant home media behaviors related to their child: bedroom television ownership, number of televisions in the home, and how often a television was on in the home.

RESULTS: The average US child was exposed to 232.2 minutes of background television on a typical day. With the use of multiple regression analysis, we found that younger children and African American children were exposed to more background television. Leaving the television on while no one is viewing and children’s bedroom television ownership were associated with increased background television exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: Although recent research has shown the negative consequences associated with background television, this study provides the first nationally representative estimates of that exposure. The amount of exposure for the average child is startling. This study offers practitioners potential pathways to reduce exposure.

See, U.S. kids exposed to 4 hours of background TV daily http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/01/background-tv-viewing-pediatrics/1599995/

It is a happy talent to know how to play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American writer
1803–1882

Resources:

The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development                http://msuextension.org/publications/HomeHealthandFamily/MT201003HR.pdf

Why Play Is Important For Child Development? http://www.mychildhealth.net/why-play-is-important-for-child-development.html

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills                    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

  1. Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd,

  2. and the Committee on Communications,

  3. and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health

Next Section

Abstract

Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children’s lives to create the optimal developmental milieu. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182.full

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©     http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Play is as important for children as technology

16 Sep

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.

The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.

On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.

For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers.

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play.

Alison Gopnik has an excellent article in Slate which reports about the results of two new studies, Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School

In the first study, MIT professor Laura Schulz, her graduate student Elizabeth Bonawitz, and their colleagues looked at how 4-year-olds learned about a new toy with four tubes. Each tube could do something interesting: If you pulled on one tube it squeaked, if you looked inside another tube you found a hidden mirror, and so on. For one group of children, the experimenter said: “I just found this toy!” As she brought out the toy, she pulled the first tube, as if by accident, and it squeaked. She acted surprised (“Huh! Did you see that? Let me try to do that!”) and pulled the tube again to make it squeak a second time. With the other children, the experimenter acted more like a teacher. She said, “I’m going to show you how my toy works. Watch this!” and deliberately made the tube squeak. Then she left both groups of children alone to play with the toy.

All of the children pulled the first tube to make it squeak. The question was whether they would also learn about the other things the toy could do. The children from the first group played with the toy longer and discovered more of its “hidden” features than those in the second group. In other words, direct instruction made the children less curious and less likely to discover new information.

Does direct teaching also make children less likely to draw new conclusions—or, put another way, does it make them less creative? To answer this question, Daphna Buchsbaum, Tom Griffiths, Patrick Shafto, and I gave another group of 4-year-old children a new toy.* This time, though, we demonstrated sequences of three actions on the toy, some of which caused the toy to play music, some of which did not. For example, Daphna might start by squishing the toy, then pressing a pad on its top, then pulling a ring on its side, at which point the toy would play music. Then she might try a different series of three actions, and it would play music again. Not every sequence she demonstrated worked, however: Only the ones that ended with the same two actions made the music play. After showing the children five successful sequences interspersed with four unsuccessful ones, she gave them the toy and told them to “make it go.”

Daphna ran through the same nine sequences with all the children, but with one group, she acted as if she were clueless about the toy. (“Wow, look at this toy. I wonder how it works? Let’s try this,” she said.) With the other group, she acted like a teacher. (“Here’s how my toy works.”) When she acted clueless, many of the children figured out the most intelligent way of getting the toy to play music (performing just the two key actions, something Daphna had not demonstrated). But when Daphna acted like a teacher, the children imitated her exactly, rather than discovering the more intelligent and more novel two-action solution.

As so often happens in science, two studies from different labs, using different techniques, have simultaneously produced strikingly similar results. They provide scientific support for the intuitions many teachers have had all along: Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific—this tube squeaks, say, or a squish then a press then a pull causes the music to play. But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions….

These experts in machine learning argue that learning from teachers first requires you to learn about teachers. For example, if you know how teachers work, you tend to assume that they are trying to be informative. When the teacher in the tube-toy experiment doesn’t go looking for hidden features inside the tubes, the learner unconsciously thinks: “She’s a teacher. If there were something interesting in there, she would have showed it to me.” These assumptions lead children to narrow in, and to consider just the specific information a teacher provides. Without a teacher present, children look for a much wider range of information and consider a greater range of options.

Knowing what to expect from a teacher is a really good thing, of course: It lets you get the right answers more quickly than you would otherwise. Indeed, these studies show that 4-year-olds understand how teaching works and can learn from teachers. But there is an intrinsic trade-off between that kind of learning and the more wide-ranging learning that is so natural for young children. Knowing this, it’s more important than ever to give children’s remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of education at Lesley University and author of “ Taking Back Childhoodand writes about the value of play in the Washington Post.

In Is technology sapping children’s creativity?

Kids need first-hand engagement — they need to manipulate objects physically, engage all their senses, and move and interact with the 3-dimensional world. This is what maximizes their learning and brain development. A lot of the time children spend with screens takes time away from the activities we know they need for optimal growth. We know that children today are playing less than kids played in the past.

Researchers who have tracked children’s creativity for 50 years are seeing a significant decrease in creativity among children for the first time, especially younger children from kindergarten through sixth grade. This decline in creativity is thought to be due at least in part to the decline of play.

The Importance of Play

Play is a remarkably creative process that fosters emotional health, imagination, original thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, and self-regulation. As children actively invent their own scenarios in play, they work their way through the challenges life presents and gain confidence and a sense of mastery. When they play with materials, children are building a foundation for understanding concepts and skills that form the basis for later academic learning.

And it’s not only concepts that children are learning as they play, they are learning how to learn: to take initiative, to ask questions, to create and solve their own problems. Open-ended materials such as blocks, play dough, art and building materials, sand and water encourage children to play creatively and in depth. Neuroscience tells us that as children play this way, connections and pathways in the brain become activated and then solidify.

Technology, Play, and Learning

What children see or interact with on the screen is only a representation of things in the real world. The screen symbols aren’t able to provide as full an experience for kids as the interactions they can have with real world people and things. And while playing games with apps and computers could be considered more active than TV viewing, it is still limited to what happens between the child and a device — it doesn’t involve the whole child’s body, brain, and senses. In addition, the activity itself and how to do it is already prescribed by a programmer. What the child does is play according to someone else’s rules and design. This is profoundly different from a child having an original idea to make or do something….

Many of the companies that market electronic products for young children make claims that these things are educational. While the research on the impact of apps on learning is meager and mixed, I can imagine studies might show that children can learn specific facts or skills by playing interactive games — such as how to count to 10. But parents should not be fooled into thinking this kind of learning is significant or foundational. Games and apps encourage kids to hit icons that lead to right (or wrong) answers. This promotes a kind of rote learning, but it is superficial. For example, a child could get right answers on simple addition problems: 3 + 2 = 5 and 2 + 4 = 6 by repeatedly playing an electronic math game, but still not grasp the underlying concepts of number.

How Might Time on Screens Affect Relationships?

Quite a few years ago, I began noticing how easy it was for parents to turn to screens in challenging moments with their children. This first hit me when I saw a little girl who was in tears over saying goodbye to her good friend and her mom offered her a TV program to watch. Now today, there are almost endless opportunities to quiet our kids with entertaining games, apps, and screen time. But when we do that, are they missing out on the chance to feel, to argue, to sit in silence, to listen, to be?

Screens can occupy, distract, and entertain children for sure; the appealing game or show really “works” in the short term. But harmful habits set in early on both sides: for the child, learning to look outside of oneself for happiness or distraction in tough times; for parents, learning to rely on screens instead of our own ingenuity to soothe and occupy kids….

What Guidance Can We Find?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity recommend keeping children under the age of two as screen-free as possible and limiting screen time for older children. I think this is a standard we should aim for. And as we try to limit screen time, we can do a lot to foster our children’s play as well. Children need uninterrupted playtime every day. The chance to play with materials that are open-ended will encourage the deepest, most creative and expanded play possible.

We can avoid buying electronic toys, games and apps as much as possible. If a child is playing with an electronic game, we can try to introduce a more open-ended material. such as blocks. I did this the other day with Evan, a 3 year old who was visiting us. It was hard to get him away from his mom’s computer, but when I pulled out some construcion toys, Evan jumped at the chance to start building.

When our kids are involved with any toy or material, we can ask ourselves, “What is the potential of this activity for fostering imaginative play and creative problem solving? Is there a more beneficial, more fully engaging, direct experience available for my child right now?”

.The fact that parents today have the option of so much technology can seem like both a gift and a curse. At certain times and in certain situations, when no other choice seems right, we can breathe a sigh of relief that we have a screen activity available to us. But at other times, we can agonize because our kids are begging for screen time and we want to see them engage in more beneficial activities. Trying to follow the AAP Guidelines is often challenging and takes a lot more effort than the “quick tech fix.” But remembering what we know about how kids learn and grow helps to guide us. And our own ingenuity and inventiveness as parents is the best and sometimes most untapped resource of all. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/is-technology-sapping-childrens-creativity/2012/09/12/10c63c7e-fced-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_blog.html

In the rush to produce baby Einsteins and child prodigies, perhaps we are missing the creativity that play activities by preschoolers produces.

Resources:

The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development                http://msuextension.org/publications/HomeHealthandFamily/MT201003HR.pdf

Why Play Is Important For Child Development? http://www.mychildhealth.net/why-play-is-important-for-child-development.html

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills                    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

  1. Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd,
  2. and the Committee on Communications,
  3. and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health

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Abstract

Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children’s lives to create the optimal developmental milieu. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182.full

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©