Wednesday, January 30, 2013

still no time for TV

My daughter got some DVD for Christmas, she got season one to three of Bewitched. We are all enjoying this old series  It is fun to watch it all together, it is always a good laugh. However finding the time to watch an episode or two stay challenging.

There is no way we would watch TV over the week, even if we want to, when that could happen?

Monday the children are coming home by 6pm and Tuesday by 5:30pm as they have after-school activities. So they cannot even have time for homework that they happily have done over the week-end.

Wednesday they coming home no later than 4pm and after doing homework and practicing their piano, they eventually hang out a bit before their piano lesson. They love this lesson and love their teacher, you should have seen them having fun with her tonight, playing and laughing, they would not let her go. So anyway, happily they had diner before as they barely had time to clean up before going to bed.

Thursday and Friday are usually more relax as they do not have any after-school activities but they do have homework :-) And they do practice their piano for sure. I bet it is like that in everyone family as I see that most children have after-school activities and even more than mine.

The fact is that there is no time for watching TV during the week. So, on week-end, we do find a little bit of time, mostly after diner to watch one or two episodes of Bewitched, all together laughing.

To be honest, with a PhD in film and TV, I have a huge collection of DVD of all kind. This is actually how my children saw Melies's movies early on and loved them. I do not think they will ever have the time to watch all of those DVD and it is a good thing as life is not about watching TV.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

successful story... continuation

I am glad to tell you what happen next to the mom I met and who decided to stop altogether screen time for her son. Actually, one friend of her was really impressed by how easily her son accepted this change and started to play alone so nicely so she decided to do the same with her son!

May be parents, today, are more open to the idea of banning their kids from watching television?
It is true that there is more publication on the subject than 10 years ago so may be parents believe now that people like me are not some New Age type fantasist....

Wouldn't be sad to wait 20 more years and feel so sorry that we did not stop in time? Like it was done for tobacco?

Ban under-threes from watching television, says study

Doctors should curb amount of time children spend watching television to prevent long-term harm, say paediatricians.
, health editor
The Guardian

Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday.
A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned. Guidelines in the US, Canada and Australia already urge limits on children's screen time, but there are none yet in Britain.
The review was written by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, author of a book on the subject, following a speech he gave to the RCPCH's annual conference. On average, he says, a British teenager spends six hours a day looking at screens at home – not including any time at school. In North America, it is nearer eight hours. But, says Sigman, negative effects on health kick in after about two hours of sitting still, with increased long-term risks of obesity and heart problems.
The critical time for brain growth is the first three years of life, he says. That is when babies and small children need to interact with their parents, eye to eye, and not with a screen.
Prof Mitch Blair, officer for health promotion at the college, said: "Whether it's mobile phones, games consoles, TVs or laptops, advances in technology mean children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. We are becoming increasingly concerned, as are paediatricians in several other countries, as to how this affects the rapidly developing brain in children and young people."
The US department of health and human services now specifically cites the reduction of screen time as a health priority, aiming "to increase the proportion of children aged 0 to two years who view no television or videos on an average weekday" and increase the proportion of older children up to 18 who have no more than two hours' screen time a day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also issued guidance, saying "media – both foreground and background – have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years". The Canadian Paediatric Society says no child should be allowed to have a television, computer or video game equipment in his or her bedroom.
Sigman goes further, suggesting no screen time for the under-threes, rising gradually to a maximum of two hours for the over-16s. Parents should "encourage" no screens in the bedroom, he says, and be aware that their own viewing habits will influence their children.
But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."
Sigman says he chooses not to have a job at a university and works in health education. "I go into schools and talk to children, usually about alcohol – trying to delay the age at which they start drinking," he said. Limiting the use of electronic media, he said, was a similar public health issue.
Dr Louise Arsenault, senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, said: "The findings from this study are intriguing and add to an increasing body of evidence suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle is not optimal for the future of young children." It was "crucial to keep this activity in context with the rest of children's lives". Screen media could be a marker of a more generally unhealthy lifestyle that needed to be talked about by health practitioners, she said.
Professor Lynne Murray, research professor in developmental psychopathology at the University of Reading, said there is "a well-established literature showing the adverse effects of screen experience on the cognitive development of children under three", but the adverse effects could be mitigated if the child was watching and interacting with "a supportive partner – usually adult".
The RCPH's Professor Blair said there were some simple steps parents could take, "such as limiting toddler exposure as much as possible, keeping TVs and computers out of children's bedrooms, restricting prolonged periods of screen time (we would recommend less than two hours a day) and choosing programmes that have an educational element."
But Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet, said it was hard for parents to compete with technology. "It would be great if someone could invent a lock that could automatically ensure a daily shut down of all the different devices in and around the home after a designated period. Until such a thing is invented, it's going to be an ongoing battle to keep on top of everything," she said.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Is Portable Technology Robbing Kids of Parents’ Attention?

What happens to a whole generation of young children who must compete for their parents’ attention against intelligent devices, the Internet, social networks, and plain old-fashioned telephone conversations?

Published: 11/17/2011
by Robert Moskowitz
Have you noticed how many moms and dads these days – whether pushing strollers, wearing their babies, leading toddlers by the hand or letting them run free – are more intensely focused on a smart phone than on their child?

This is totally new.

When I was growing up, and later when I was raising my kids, mothers (and some dads) talked to their babies literally all the time: chattering away about what was going on, pointing out interesting sights and sounds, planning for when Brother or Sister came home from school, asking questions as if the child understood and might actually answer.

Psychologists make much of this intense verbal stimulation, eye contact and social interaction, explaining that they help develop new neural pathways in the child’s brain and encourage higher levels of awareness, cogitation, and language capabilities, just for starters.

So what happens to a whole generation of young children who must now compete for their parents’ attention against intelligent devices, the Internet, social networks, and plain old-fashioned telephone conversations?

No one knows, at least not according to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., a Fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara and co-founder of the National ParentNet Association, a nonprofit that builds family, school and community partnerships.

“It’s just too new of a phenomenon for there to be any research on it,” she says. “However, there is a lot of research that shows the benefit of active listening with children, and how parent attention and support is key to developing a healthy self-image. One could surmise that if we are paying attention to our smart-phones instead of our children, not as much interaction is going to occur.”

And who among us hasn’t witnessed the toddler who grabs Mom’s smart-phone and starts punching buttons? Children as young as 1 or 2 already see them as fascinating toys. “This seems to be yet another distraction from face-to-face interaction with parents,” says Price-Mitchell.

“It’s definitely an example of multitasking in which attention to a face-to-face human being is sacrificed for attention to virtual human beings,” agrees Patricia Greenfield, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist at UCLA and director of the Children’s Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles, where she studies children’s interaction with the newer forms of digital media.

James W. Stigler, Ph.D., professor of developmental psychology at UCLA, agrees about the lack of available research, but takes a less pessimistic view of the situation. “I have not heard of any research on this,” he confides, “but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes peer interactions are more productive [than interactions with parents], and this [parental smart-phone fixation] might free children up to interact more with peers.”

Rebekah Richert, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside, says the effects of parents’ increased use of these technologies are difficult to anticipate, but likely fall into two categories.

 “First, children are monitored less. We know that we cannot attend to two or more things as well as we can attend to one. Thus, when parents are glancing between their phone and their child, they are likely missing subtle, or even obvious, cues about what the child is doing and experiencing,” says Richert. “This can be both positive and negative.” She echoes Stigler’s view that less attention from parents could mean more interaction with peers and an increased sense of independence, but points out the increased risk of injury or social conflict for children whose parents are distracted.

 “Second,” Richert says, “children learn about technologies by watching their parents. Children are growing up in environments surrounded by these kinds of personal, portable, interactive devices.” Children of high-use parents who are on smart phones or tablets throughout the day will learn about their appropriate – or inappropriate – use, depending on their parents’ example. “It is up to each parent to decide how he or she wants his or her child to view and use these kinds of technologies in their lives,” says Richert.

Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, MD, MPH, believes ignoring kids for smart-phones can be very bad. “Smart phones are not really very smart,” says Lieberman, a member of the faculty at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute who accuses the devices of robbing kids of parents’ attention and “tearing apart the fabric of the family. The impact on children of a parent who seems to find a little box more intriguing than them is powerful. This makes children feel devalued, unimportant, unattractive and unloved.” She goes so far as to say that this lack of attention creates a void in children’s lives that can lead to substance abuse and other problems.

Gabor Maté, M.D., a Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction, believes that today’s parents are stressed and have become disconnected from their kids, and that parents who can’t put down their smart phones may actually be addicted to them.

“It’s a concern I have as well,” says Lisa Druxman, founder of StrollerStrides, a fitness program where moms exercise with their babies. “As a mom myself, I get how hard it is to ‘unplug.’ We recommend that moms put their phones away and actually play with the kids. Don’t just sit on the sidelines. Enjoy the playground or a game of tag! Think about how you want your kids to treat their own kids one day. I’m guessing we would all put the phones away and play!”

At least one educator is also dismayed by the trend. “I think it’s very disengaged,” says the co-director of a popular, upscale Los Angeles preschool. “We frequently see parents come into our school and, instead of greeting their child and focusing in on them, they’re talking on the phone.

“Today’s young children have never been with parents without phones,” continues the educator, who didn’t want to be identified so as not to offend parents of students attending her school. “They don’t know any different. But talking is more than a way of communicating and building language skills. It’s a way of having a relationship with your kids and attending to their needs. It’s unrealistic to expect people not to use their smart phones. They’re part of our lives and our world, and they serve some very useful purposes. But there are downsides. I think it would be good if parents could realize the impact of technology, be more mindful, and think about how they want smart-phones in their lives.”

Mindfulness is just the strategy suggested by developmental psychologist Nancy Buck, Ph.D. and parenting coach. “My general position,” says Buck, “is that parenting must be conscious. That is, just be aware of what you’re doing. Then you can decide if what you’re doing is what you want to be doing. If it isn’t, you can make a different choice.”

Robert Moskowitz is an L.A. dad, writer, and frequent contributor to L.A. Parent.

I agree with Nancy Buck, parenting must be conscious. This is why I believe that informing parents is important. Sharing experiences is important too. I do not like cell phone because I feel it invade my space. I do not like to feel "on call". Honestly, most of the calls I am getting are not that urgent, they can at least wait a few minutes. The only calls I would answer right away would be from school or other place where my children would be, in case something happen to them or they need me. I have a cell phone for emergency use and I have a smartphone, even two and I gave them to my kids :-)
They use them as Ipod. I do not want those to be connected at home, as I am first teaching them not to become addicted to them. If they need to surf the web or do email, they have a computer. It is really hard to supervise the use of a smartphone or other small device connected to the internet. But when they turn their computer on, I can see it. Like everything, I believe that they need to learn first how to master the use of all those technology and by mastering it I mean being able to control it in every way. And it is easiest to say than to do, as mention in Robert Moskowitz, many adult are addicted to their smartphone...