How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

Lisa Wilkinson recently made some controversial comments about parents who let their children have ‘screen time’ under the age of five.

Wilkinson called these parents ‘crazy’ and said:

‘Come back to me when they’re 14 and they’re completely and utterly addicted to their screens, they have no social skills, that’s when you realise that what you did early has come back to bite you’.

Many parents have understandably been offended by Wilkinson’s comments.

Not only is the use of digital technology increasingly prevalent and useful in the adult world, but it’s also an important part of school curriculums — even in kindergarten.

And let’s be honest — the interactive and dynamic medium entrances kids, and can give parents some valuable time to get their own things done.

So what is the right amount of screen time for children, if any?

And how do we moderate their usage?

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The Many Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Kids

Reading is vital for developing literacy, a good vocabulary and a vivid imagination.

But with increasingly interactive electronic books that enable independent reading from a younger and younger age, we may be losing sight of the value of reading not only with, but also to our kids.

A number of recent studies have reinforced the importance of reading aloud to your kids — the traditional way.

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Can Video Games Really Improve Academic Performance?

You may have seen a report in the news recently suggesting a positive link between playing video games and academic performance.

This conclusion came from a study that analysed data from over 12,000 high school students in Australia and it showed that students who played online video games almost every day performed above-average in academic testing.

The study found that gamers scored 15 points higher than average in maths and reading tests, and 17 points higher than average in science.

But the real question is:

Do gamers achieve better results because they play more video games? 

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Is “Brain Training” a Sham? New Study Casts Doubts on Claims Made by Billion-Dollar Industry

In recent years we’ve been told that it’s possible to get smarter with the aid of various expensive high-tech brain training tools, apps and software.

Companies such as Cogmed, Lumosity and NeuroNation, have promised everything from higher IQs through to staying sharp in old age.

Claims even went so far as to suggest brain training can help with learning disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).

What’s more the claims made by the vendors and resellers of brain training products and services were all purportedly based on scientific evidence.

Now it appears there could be serious questions about the credibility of that evidence.

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Children’s Smart Phone And Tablet Use Linked With Weaker Literacy Skills

Research recently conducted by the National Literacy Trust in the UK examined the relationship between children’s literacy skills and the proportion of reading time on electronic displays, such as tablets, smartphones and ebook readers.

The main finding of this study was that young children and adolescents who read printed books (either exclusively or in addition to reading on screens) were 68% more likely to have above-average reading skills than those who read only on screens.

Unfortunately, a summary of this research was published in the Daily Mail in the UK under a completely misleading headline: “Children who read on iPads or Kindles have weaker literacy skills and are less likely to enjoy it as a pastime, charity warns”.

But is it really possible that reading on screens can impair children’s reading ability?

Read more…

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