The Huffington Post: Kids and Media: Joined at the Hip
The Wall Street Journal: A Safer Way to Text on the Road
MIT Review: Ban Texting While Parenting
Texting and using cell phone while driving cause so many traffic accidents that they are now banned in many places. And who even heard of texting five years ago? This is yet another example of how we are reacting to the explosive changes wrought by technology in our lives. But the impact of technology on our kids and families has been just as explosive and can be just as destructive as traffic accidents, and also requires severe measures. We can’t just make laws and rules. Restriction and quick fixes won’t work. Parents of young kids need to start thinking early and plan for the long-term.
A recently released Kaiser Family Foundation study shows that older children are engaged with the media as much as eight hours a day; only 1/3 of families limit media; but even when parents do set rules, media consumption by kids drops by only 1/3.
The problem is big.
The Kaiser Foundation Study shows how big the problem is: 21% of kids 8-18 are “heavy users” who use media, including texting and multi-tasking, up to 19 hours daily (including multitasking and texting). Family life and grades are down. So kids and media companies are pretty much in charge. Left to themselves, kids usually consume junk. Is this what parents want?
The solution must be big.
Media can be great for kids if used right. Only 1/3 of parents set limits, and when they do, media use drops by only 15 hrs/w. Not much! Setting limits does not work enough!! Parents need help big-time! Parents need a proactive, comprehensive Media Plan. A Media Plan must be comprehensive and based on sound child development and family health principles. It must help families succeed as their kids brains are wired actively during early childhood. It must prevent improper chaotic use in the teen years before it starts. It should translate into practical daily media menus. That is why I wrote my book.
Parent commitment must be big and they need good expert help.
There is no quick fix. Start early and work at it as part of daily parenting. Parents have the home court advantage and they must commit themselves, as they do to a nutrition plan, retirement plan, plan to make the family and marriage work.