A Food Pyramid for Kids’ Media Consumption

In this hyper-personalized, autoplaying, all-you-can-eat mediascape, it helps to distinguish the health substance from the garbage. Fortnite? Probably not a great form of screen time. Video chatting with granny? What family-unifying wonders hath Jobs wrought! Screen time, then, has become a slippery concept. Does typing a newspaper in Google Docs count? What about utilizing a mapping app? Fortunately, researchers are beginning to study screen-based media in all its forms, instead of really mounding everything together like they used to. Some types of screen fare are like sugar: Limit intake, peculiarly before bedtime, and watch for signeds of overindulgence–obesity, aggression, grade slippage. Others are more like proteins and veggies: Make sure boys get a balanced diet that includes exercise, IRL socializing, snoozing, and yes, screens. Above all, though, know thy child–some minors might be more vulnerable to the latest offering from Epic Games than others.


Screens Before Bed
Cortisol-spiking content and melatonin-suppressing blue light impair sleep.

Background TV
This reduces the number of words adults deliver, potentially stunting teenagers’ lingo development.

Screens During Mealtime
The habit is linked to overeating as well as delayed social and word sciences, due to missing out on home conversations.


To reduce the risk of boys stumbling onto iffy material, turn Autoplay off and Restricted Mode on.

First-Person Shooter Videogames
While violent media is linked to aggression, boys who abstain from videogames report more social isolation.

Social Media
Most teenages say social media facilitates them feel more be linked to acquaintances, although heavy use has been linked to depression and feeling. Apps like RescueTime can help adolescents be borne in mind their screen use.


Interactive Ebooks
Ebooks with lots of bells and whistles tend to reduce comprehension but may help kids who would otherwise lose interest.

Movies/ TV
For age-appropriate content, consult independent inspect locates like Common Sense Media.

Active TV/ Video
Shows like The Wiggles and YouTube paths like Kidz Bop encourage offsprings to dance.

Active Videogames
Older exergaming consoles like Wii and Kinect, and newer games like Beat Saber and Rec room, can help kids break a sweat.


Video Chats With Family
While children age 2 and under have a poor ability to learn from 2D generators, pediatricians approve of video chats starting at 18 months.

PBS Co-Viewing
Sesame Street observers got higher evaluates and were less likely to be held back; co-viewing can provoke discussion and help adolescents critically evaluate messages.

Skill Building and Creating
Free sources like ScratchJr and Codecademy coach girls coding. Plus, iMovie, Wattpad, and Roblox are great creative tools.

Affinity Groups
Activist radicals like the Harry Potter Alliance and others can foster “positive deviance”–uncommon behaviors that help solve problems.

Music, Audiobooks, and Podcasts
Actively engaging with music–singing, dancing, clapping along–can raise creativity, usage increase, and mood.

Sources: Mimi Ito, Connected Learning Research Network; Anya Kamenetz, The Art of Screen Time; Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media; Jenny Radesky, University of Michigan Medical School; Michael Rich, Center on Media and Child Health

This article appears in the June issue. Subscribe now.

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