Student Screen Time

The effects of media use are multifactorial and depend on the type of media, the type of use, the amount and extent of use, and the characteristics of the individual child. Children today are growing up in an era of highly personalized media use experiences which have begun to move into the educational setting.

Jessica Millstone has an 11-year-old and a 5-year-old and works for an ed-tech company called Brainpop: she says, "I do see that in a lot of the schools that I visit and I work in, where it's really difficult to get something innovative or experimental or just plain fun into the classroom, and teachers need that. They seek that. They need ways to engage kids that are digital natives and who really expect a kind of digital experience.

"Media and technology are essential to family life and to childhood and adolescence, and therefore we have to get more on top of it, " says Jim Steyer. He's the president and CEO of Common Sense Media, an organization that focuses on kids, media and technology, and the group behind new research.

Both traditional and social media can provide exposure to new ideas and information, raising awareness of current events and issues. Interactive media also can provide opportunities for the promotion of community participation and civic engagement. Students can collaborate with others on assignments and projects on many online media platforms.

To place a limit on exposure to screens, parents should develop, consistently follow, and routinely revisit a Family Media Use plan (see the plan from the American Academy of Pediatrics at

A joint study between the Oxford Internet Institute and Cardiff University published in the journal Child Development found that there was ‘no consistent correlation’ between limiting screen time and a range of child well-being measures. In fact, an Oxford University summary of the findings reports children may be better off with more device time.

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