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Worried about preschoolers and screen time?
Here's what you can do.

Did you know that 40% of 3-month-old babies are regular viewers of screen media, and preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours a week outside of classrooms engaged with screens?[1][2]  That 36% of center-based child-care programs include TV, for an average of 1.2 hours a day, and 70% of home-based child-care programs include TV for an average of 3.4 hours per day?[3]  And that excessive screen time for children is linked to negative outcomes such as childhood obesity[4] and poor school performance?[5][6]

This week, we have an important opportunity to help reverse these troubling trends.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is updating its position statement on Technology and Young Children for the first time in 14 years and has issued a call for public comments. Because NAEYC is the nation's premier professional organization for early childhood educators, the statement will have a profound effect on young children's media use both in and out of classrooms.

CCFC sent a letter signed by 70 leading early childhood educators, pediatricians, and child development experts urging NAEYC to join the American Academy of Pediatrics and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity in taking a strong stand for limiting screen time in the lives of young children.  The letter includes a list of research-based recommendations we hope NAEYC will adopt, including that young children have little or no exposure to screen technologies in child-care, preschool or kindergarten settings.  You can read our letter here.

Will you take a moment to support CCFC's recommendations or suggest your own?  To submit your thoughts, please visit http://www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/tech.  Be sure to indicate if you're a NAEYC member, an early childhood educator, or a parent of a young child.  And feel free to use CCFC's core recommendations as a basis for your comment.

We urge NAEYC to:

  • Recommend that children have little or no exposure to screen technology in child-care, preschool, and kindergarten settings.
  • Expand the focus of its position statement to include children younger than 3 and recommend that child-care settings for infants and toddlers be completely screen free. 
  • Endorse the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity of no screen time for children under the age of 2 and limited screen time for older children.
  • Review the research on children and technology with a critical eye, asking who funded it and whether any reported gains can also be achieved through hands-on experiences proven to be beneficial to children, without the potentially negative consequences associated with screen media.

We realize the comment process is a little more work than signing your name to a pre-written letter, but we hope you'll take the time.  Reducing young children's screen time is an important step toward a commercial-free childhood. 

 

[1] Zimmerman, F., Christakis, D. & Meltzoff, A. (2007). Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 473-479.
[2] The Nielsen Company (2009). TV viewing among kids at an eight-year high. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/tv-viewing-among-kids-at-an-eight-year-high/
[3] Christakis, D. (2009). Preschool-aged children's television viewing in child care settings. Pediatrics, 124(6), 1627-1632.
[4] Jordan, A., Kramer-Golinkoff, E., & Strasburger V. (2008). Do the media cause obesity and eating disorders? Adolescent Medicine State of the Art Review, 19(3), 431- 449.
[5] Sharif, I. & Sargent, J. D. (1996). Association between television, movie, and video game exposure and school performance. Pediatrics, 118(4), 1061-1070.
[6] Shin, N. (2004). Exploring pathways from television to academic achievement in school age childen. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 165(4), 367-382.

 

 
 
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