Question from a colleague:

Hello Eitan,

It looks like you have been very busy working on something to assist parents and ultimately to benefit children.
There are many aspects of this I like very much. I like that it controls the content and limits the amount of time spent on the internet! That is all wonderful in my opinion.
I have a question about your reason for beginning it at such early ages. I understand that pre-schoolers are using these regularly and this app will help with what and how long they are exposed to this media use. But, I am wondering if you could explain the comment as a benefit stating…. “Introduces pre-schoolers to the internet.” Let me know your thinking behind that being a benefit at this time of early brain development.

Thanks very much for sharing

Dr. S answers:

Thank you for targeting this issue, which I struggled with mightily. In my book I allocate very little time/week before age 5 with media, none of it alone, and emphasize repeatedly that the key purpose of that time is family interaction and call for a parent’s full presence.

However, knowing how things actually are on the ground in reality with increased media consumption, most of it unstructured by adults and random, by preschoolers
who are undergoing rapid brain maturation; and wanting to influence this powerful process, I decided to use ZillyDilly to to educate and motivate parents to think developmentally.

So the ZillyDilly timer presets totally block pure entertainment sites for preschoolers and young school agers and encourage only Family Relatioships from the five Growth Opportunities possible. Additionally, I have an extensive popup explaining child development and the need for parental full presence, etc. I also advise about limiting overstimulation and keeping the actual choices to only a few sites.

This created certain technical challenges to work all of this into the software, but we got pretty close to our goal and ended up with a very sophisticated experience for kids. We wanted to treat this group as separate, and even offer them an introductory cartoon.

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