Screen Time

How Electronic Media—From Baby Videos to Educational Software—Affects Your Young Child

by Lisa Guernsey

Number of pages: 336

Publisher: Basic Books

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 978-0465029808

About the Author

She is the Director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation and an education, science, and technology writer who has contributed to the New York Times and Washington Post.


Editorial Review

This book is mainly about of television and media's time and content on children. The studies on how children respond to content led us to ask: what exactly are our children watching? Can they make sense of it? Will they try to imitate what happens on screen? Could they learn from it? Are they learning what we think they are learning?

Book Reviews

"...a thoroughly researched, sensibly balanced and beautifully written account of the growing role children's media play in contemporary society. It is a must read for those who wish to understand the rich and subtle ways media are influencing younger and younger children's lives every day."— Michael H. Levine, PhD, Executive Director, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

"Written with passion and precision, humor and humility, Into the Minds of Babes is a calming and reassuring new resource for parents."—Claire Green, President, Parents' Choice Foundation

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Wisdom to Share

Screen time’s impact on social skills could be both good and bad, depending on what, and how much, our kids are watching.

Some scholars have suggested that, for children under 5, parents should only choose video media that is all sweetness and light.

A set of national data from the 1990s showed that children aged 1½ watched more than two hours of TV a day.

Ask today’s parents what worries them most about screen time for their babies or toddlers and the answer is often ADHD—attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

ADHD experts are much more convinced that attention disorders might cause television use, instead of the other way around.

Toddlers need room and time to explore, to totter up the stairs, to fall on their diaper-padded bottoms and get up again.

Television critics talk about TV zombies. They say that children become mesmerized by the flashing and buzzing of the screen itself instead of comprehending what is on it.

Instead of asking, “What is screen time doing to a baby’s brain?” maybe we should be asking the opposite question, “What is it not doing?”

Young children don’t think logically. At birth, children are born with a functioning amygdala, the region of the brain that reflexively reacts to dangers.

Unquestionably, there is still a lot we don’t know about the impact of emotionally charged and scary material for very young children.