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How Screen Time Shapes Kids

Fourth grader Jess Atkins works on an online math lesson on his laptop at his home in Oxford, Miss., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)
Fourth grader Jess Atkins works on an online math lesson on his laptop at his home in Oxford, Miss., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

Online school. Virtual playdates. Video games. What does it mean for children that more and more of their world is now mediated through a screen? After the pandemic, how will they transition back?


Anya Kamenetz, NPR education correspondent. Author of “The Art Of Screen Time.” (@anya1anya)

Natasha Burgert, pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Member of the advisory board for Wait Until 8th, a group that encourages parents to wait until 8th grade before purchasing a smart phone for their child. (@DoctorNatasha)

Also Featured

Spandana Pavuluri, sophomore at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, KY.

Vicki Rideout, independent researcher. Founder of VJR Consulting.

Kyla Riccobon, 7th grade English teacher in Berwick, Penn.

From The Reading List

New York Times: “Children’s Screen Time Has Soared in the Pandemic, Alarming Parents and Researchers” — “The day after New Year’s, John Reichert of Boulder, Colo., had a heated argument with his 14-year-old son, James. ‘I’ve failed you as a father,’ he told the boy despairingly.'”

NPR: “Biden’s Plans To Reopen Schools In His First 100 Days” — “Biden has made reopening most K-12 schools a major priority for his first 100 days and he’s signed a flurry of executive orders indicating a much stronger role in federal leadership to do that safely.”

New York Times: “The Upside to Screen Time” — “My 8-year-old daughter started writing stories this year in Google Docs. They are thousands of words long, and my favorite one includes both a full brisket recipe and a murder mystery. She experiments with fonts, looks up synonyms and thinks about the plot even when she’s away from the computer.”

NPR: “Kids Are Anxious And Scared During The Pandemic. Here’s How Parents Can Help” — “For the kids in our lives, the last nine months have been many things. Scary — because an invisible, unknown illness was suddenly spreading across the globe. Maybe even fun, when the possibility of school closing felt like a snow day.”

Columbia Journalism Review: “What the Times got wrong about kids and phones” — “Anyone who’s spent time digging into a specific beat knows the feeling: You’re never going to be thrilled to see a big package on ‘your’ topic in a major outlet. You’re going to have quibbles, at the very least.”

Brookings: “Screen time for children: Good, bad, or it depends?” — “This is not the first time when technological advances have created a virtual riot in homes, schools, and offices. When telephones were first introduced in the late 1800s, debates ensued about whether they would interfere with office comradery and whether clients would find a call more off-putting than a face-to-face conversation.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.