Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Ban Mobile Devices for Kids Under 12?

(borrowed from a Facebook post and associated thread Mika Leuck shared)

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012)...I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. More on Huffington Post

Pediatric occupational therapist Cris Rowan makes some good points, and cites studies worth reading, but she is missing a crucial distinction between passive viewing and interactive engagement with apps designed by education professionals. Proper and controlled use of educational apps can accelerate learning. I have seen this first hand.

Additionally, I believe denying children access to "screens" until they are 12 will put them at a distinct disadvantage in a world where kids are programming at that age and even earlier. Some countries are teaching programming in the public school system to students as young as seven. Technologies like MIT's Scratch and Lego Mindstorms are drawing in more budding programmers at increasingly young ages. I think this is fantastic, because programming puts so many critical skills such as logic, math, creative problem solving and physics (via simulation) in context and demonstrates how they can be used together in exciting ways.

That being said, it is hard to find the right balance. We struggle to successfully manage productive use of technology with our 2yo every day. You can clearly have too much iPad, even if it is all educational.

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on March 12, 2014 at 3:51pm

@Brian Perhaps, but given that most people in this online community are in Hawaii...

Its also worth noting that most internet access from the developing world occurs via mobile devices, and even the low end handsets are increasingly sophisticated.

Comment by Brian on March 12, 2014 at 2:14pm


Comment by Mika Leuck on March 10, 2014 at 9:41am

Here is a Ruby book for kids we are anxiously anticipating: The author asked for $10K on Kickstarter and got $380,747 in pledges :-)

Comment by Mika Leuck on March 10, 2014 at 9:38am

Great points from two professors! Thank you for joining the discussion. I agree its all about how you use the new tools.

Comment by Tetsuzan Benny Ron on March 9, 2014 at 11:49am

In every generation you'll find people who will blame technology for any wrong doing in our society instead of looking for creative ways to improve our lives and the lives of our children, for example:

TV show for kids (yes, TV was once a revolutionizing idea that people considered to outlawed - and some societies, cultures, and communities still ban TV):

Now, our generation has been 'exposed' to a new and revolutionizing technology: the smartphone with their millions of apps: 

New gaming app inspires kids to brush teeth

And I just thought that these technologies, if been used creatively, bring to us all some fresh breath :)

Comment by Dr. Barbara McLain on March 9, 2014 at 10:49am

This may be a simple case of reacting to changes in the world.   A device is a tool-- it can be used for good or bad.  It can be distracting or helpful.  Any tool requires training.  Mobile devices may take a bit more training than reading books (there are many publications that could be deemed bad for young people), but the world is changing very, very rapidly.  It is up to us to make sure that it changes in directions that will lead us into a more productive and happier existence.   We are now getting the first generation of children who grew up with home technologies.  Their parents were born perhaps after 1980 or later.   Whatever parents value will be passed on to their offspring.  That will not change, so if todayʻs parents value mobile technology-- their children will also value mobile technology.  Hereʻs an interesting example of how a 4 year old saved a life with a handheld device.


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