Should Handheld Devices for Kids Under 12 Be Banned?

| March 12, 2014 | 7 Comments
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A Huffington Post article, 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned, from a couple of days ago has clearly hit a nerve. The link has spread far and wide, with hundreds of thousands of social media shares.

The author links to studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Society of Pediatrics, Kaiser Foundation, Active Healthy Kids Canada, and Common Sense Media as the primary sources that back up her call to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. She cites sleep deprivation, obesity, delayed brain development, mental illness, aggression, addiction, and digital dementia as just a few of the detrimental consequences of allowing kids under 12 to use handheld devices.

(Since the post was published, many have written responses that refute both the factual assertions and the conclusions the author makes.)

The article comes at a pivotal moment when schools, teachers, and parents are figuring out how students can use mobile devices — specifically smartphones or tablets — for the purposes of learning: to create, collaborate, research, share information and opinion, and possibly as an equalizing force in the digital divide.

How does this call for a ban on handheld devices square with what parents and teachers believe about the value of devices towards the purposes of learning, whether in or out of school? Should mobile devices be kept from students below the sixth grade altogether? Is a child’s age a valid determining factor in answering these questions?

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12Posted: Print Article The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010).

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  • Jessica Piotrowski

    In response to the column you are referencing, my colleagues and I have drafted a response in which we highlight our concerns with the (mis)information in the original post. Perhaps you are interested to check it out?

    Jessica Piotrowski

    • tbarseghian

      Thanks Jessica – I linked to your response in the article above.

    • Steveograph

      Author David Kleeman, as a leader in “global market research, strategic business planning, brand building, and multi-platform product development company,” for children and media might be very well informed about how electronic media can support and appeal to kids, but hardly unbiased in consideration of evidence against whether electronic media is “best” for human growth and development.

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  • Denise

    The germs on hand held devices are probably worse then anything else! My Kindergartner uses I PADS as a learning tool in class. Do I mind, not at all. Now if it got in the way of recess, gym or music then maybe but otherwise people learn better when they are interested, engaged. No doubt an I PAD for a five year old would do the trick!

  • Brainz

    I built a computer for each of my kids when they hit age 3. They each got a tablet at age 10. The 13 year old has a laptop and smart phone. Both kids maintain honor roll status. They both read better than mot college kids. They say they read as much as they do because “Daddy reads and look how smart he is”. They are honest, caring and still innocent. Why should they not have the technology that was not around when I was a kid? Give it to them if they can grow with it.

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