Balancing Health and Screen Use

In a recent blog post, business executive Tom Vander Ark mentions that it has never been easier to apply powerful (computer) tools to address challenges.  He states further that today's students are tomorrow's inventors, engineers, teachers, artists, and leaders (EducationNext, Winter, 2018. Vol. 18.  No. 1).  Amazing technological breakthroughs have certainly enhanced our lives.  On the other hand, emerging public health reports document the risks of prolonged screen use on vision, mental health, and social / emotional development of our children (see links below).   Sleep deprivation linked to poor health prior to the introduction of electronic screens has been recently compounded by late night screen use.  Even simply keeping back-lit devices near our bed can affect the quality of our sleep.

The challenge and the opportunity for each of us is to aim for a healthy balance between the powerful use of digital devices as educational and recreational tools while promoting healthy digital citizenship for everyone.

A great place to start is the Wait Til 8th program. This nationwide, parent-led movement promotes postponing smartphone purchases for our kids until at least 8th grade and includes some strategies for those who have their own smartphone.  Watch for more information and opportunities to sign the pledge from the HES School Council later in March.

Also, the  American Academy of Pediatrics site lists several strategies to promote healthy screen use with smartphones, TV, videogames, and other electronic devices with our families.  

We invite you to expand conversations about this topic with your families using resources suggested in the links below.