Sunday, April 29, 2012
It May Be the Start of Something Big
Unplugging media during the annual Screen Free Week, April 30-May 6, is a good start towards increasing awareness of how we've slipped into habitual overuse of screen electronics, and maybe a better lifestyle. "The idea is to encourage folks to experiment with limiting, or better yet, abstaining, especially from TV where youngsters are concerned," according to Eitan Schwarz MD, a Chicago child psychiatrist and child media expert.
"I hope this week can be a first step for many families to become more thoughtful about the place of media in their lives because to really benefit, parents will need to follow through by continuing to limit media consumption and substituting face to face contact time, physical activity, reading or reflecting instead of watching TV or using smartphones or computers. Media-free zones and times at home and in the car, no texting while parenting, and no TV during meal times are some other good lifestyle changes," according to Dr. Schwarz.
"Child-care professionals can be most helpful by educating, empowering, and giving parents the tools to take a more active role in managing the type of media and time spent," according to Dr. Schwarz, also known as Dr. S, inventor of ZillyDilly for iPad, a browser that parents now use to manage and totally control time and content online.
"Aligning technology to better meet the needs of families, educators and kids is a slow process that is nevertheless moving forward as many schools are iPadding up. In the meantime, parents and educators are indeed becoming more aware of the need for thoughtful supervision and careful planning of the use of technology with children," according to Schwarz, a faculty member at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.