I’ve been listening this week to NPR’s report on digital media and children. The link to their report is below if you want to read the complete story…
… but I want to insert some of what was shared because I feel it is important for parents and grandparents to be informed.
First – pediatricians generally discourage passive screen time for children 2 and under.
“The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,” says Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement discouraging screen time for babies under 2.”
This is not surprising information, yet it is important to recognize that there may be detrimental effects for children who are passive digital media consumers.
“Aim for a balanced approach — for you and your baby.” the report goes on to say.
“Since the research on touch-screens isn’t clear yet,” Brown offers some advice in the meantime.
“We still have questions. If you’re planning on using interactive media with your child, use it with your child, sit down with your child and engage with them because that’s going to be more valuable than anything,” Brown says.
It’s valuable time with her 14-month-old daughter that taught another mom — Jennifer Grover — about her own relationship with screens.
“It’s just amazing how good they are at mimicking what they see. So I’ve definitely had to learn to kind of rein in my attention to the laptop, or my attention to my phone in front of her, because whatever I’m doing that’s what she wants to be doing,” Grover says.
I want to highlight two points that I think are most significant.
1) – engage in media use WITH your child
2) – be a positive example in front of your child of your own media use
NOTHING can replace face to face interaction with our children. We have “skyped” with our grandchildren in Washington State. While I love to see their faces and hear them say – “I love you, Nana” I find it very dissatisfying. I want to HOLD them, and HUG them! I want to see them in person and read books together and laugh together, and yes, even clean up their messes (together!)
I want face time!
While thinking about this I felt the Lord impress on me – “I want that with you.”
Our heavenly Father doesn’t JUST want us to read about Him, sing about Him, watch movies about Him or talk to others about Him.
God wants face time with us.
He wants to hear what we say and He wants us to quietly listen to Him.
One on one.
David cries out to God in Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
11 You make known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
God will reward us abundantly with His joy when we spend “face time” in His presence.
Face time with our Heavenly Father.