Why screen time might not be so detrimental to your child’s health.
With the rise of the internet and smartphones, humans entered an era of extreme connectivity via invisible threads around the globe. Children born during this time know no other life and readily accept and adapt to the latest changes in software and technology. Shapiro (Intellectual Heritage/Temple Univ.; Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss, 2013, etc.) believes the connections children make over the internet are similar to those previously made on the playground or in the sandbox. Children are learning similar social and relationship skills in digital space, just as they once did face to face. The author claims the amount of time he spends playing video games with his sons is akin to the days when dads played ball with their children; in both cases, they are bonding on the child’s level. Playing video games with other children around the world enhances a child’s sense of self and their place in it while building social interactions in the safe environment of the child’s own home. Shapiro argues that parents and educators should let go of their own fears about technology and embrace and endorse it, letting children develop their skills via these tools. He believes that in this new paradigm, adults must let go of their memories of their own childhoods and let their children create memories using the technology at hand. The author’s arguments are persuasive and bolstered by research. Yet his theories may be difficult to swallow for those still inclined to believe that active outdoor play with real children in real time and space is a more productive way to learn acceptable social behaviors and develop relationships than sitting alone in front of a computer screen.Credible theories backed by solid research that show technology is possibly less harmful than originally thought to children who use it on a regular basis.