In this Huffington Post article which is getting a LOT of play on the internet and other technology that children shouldn't be reading, pediatric therapist Chris Rowan makes a case for severely curtailing technology in the hands of children. But it's not just a suggestion:
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years.
The reasons Rowan quotes for a ban are all pretty obvious, and some are reasonable: Technology for kids under two have been shown to result in ADD, impaired learning, and other maladies; technology restricts movement, and kids learn better when they're physically active; obesity; sleep deprivation; mental illness (a bit of a stretch, but don't stop her, she's on a roll); aggression (probably true, but Rowan backs up her hypothesis in the laziest of ways by pointing her finger at Grand Theft Auto—which isn't exactly on heavy rotation in most pre-teen's gaming systems); digital dementia (cool name!); technology addiction; radiation emission (as in cell phones, and she's really starting to lose me here); and a lack of parental influence (or quality mommy/daddy time).
Here's a chart that depicts how much time children under 12 should be exposed to technology on a daily basis—for those who don't have time to look, the answer is pretty much "never."
Seriously, why did they go to the trouble of making a graph? Anyway, while I truly believe that kids under 12 should have strict limitations on screen time—there's different types of screen time. There's the passive kind where one watches television, and the active kind where one plays age-appropriate video games that challenge the player to think.
But whatever! Here's my primary beef: Doctors and child professionals suggesting that we should ban things—instead of, you know, just doing their jobs and suggesting it. This article in particular makes some fine points—and some really overreaching arguments, as well—but kicking off a treatise with the ultra-conservative tact of banning technology all together for children under 12 makes me think the author is insecure in her argument—and has maybe played a bit too much Grand Theft Auto.
Anyway, read the entire article here. And don't forget: My day won't be complete without hearing the opinions of you Blogtowners on this subject. Should technology be banned for kids under 12? Should it be severely limited? If so, how much so? Or are the best parents the ones who turn on Grand Theft Auto, place a bag of Cheetos and a handgun on the coffee table, and leave the room? YOUR OPINION PLEASE.