Are you worried about how much time your children spend in front of the phone screen?

So the reporter for Wired magazine , Sarah Fallon, is afraid that technology will turn her child into a vegetable. We offer you a translation of an interview that Sarah conducted with a child development psychologist to understand how children can use technology to their advantage.

I do not think that I am the only mother who worries how much time the child spends in front of the screen. Cartoons on repeat, games until night. It all turns their brains into jelly, right? Child Development Psychologist Alison Gapnik wants us to exhale and focus not on how much time children spend with phones, but on how children can use technology to their advantage.

WIRED: You said that the quality of screen time is more important than quantity. But it seems to me that children should not spend much time in front of screens of monitors or smartphones.
Alison Gapnik: the quality of interaction with the screen will be much higher if one of the parents sits with the child and explains something incomprehensible to him. The same thing happens when a child watches a movie or cartoon with an adult. You help him understand something, talk about something related to the plot or a story from life. So, the child goes deeper into history and learns more about the world.

Don’t you think technology is crowding out the game?

Alison Gapnik: On the screen, you can do meaningless things. But there are interactive games that make you think and explore the world around you. My grandson is learning to play chess. This is what you can do on the phone. In real life, you need to find an opponent who would play with you. With a suitable application, you can look at the world through the eyes of a child and begin to explore it again. My grandson enjoys using Google Maps. He wonders where he is, to look around the corner. This is a good example of what technology can be used for.

Social networks, however, remind me of junk food, like dopamine chips.

Alison Gapnik: If your friends like one of your posts, it would be strange if your body did not start producing dopamine. Studies show that children who are vulnerable in real life will also be vulnerable on social networks. It should be borne in mind that in social networks, children interact with each other in the same way as they did before through notes, questionnaires and other communication methods.

However, parents should introduce strict rules to limit the time spent in front of the screen.

Alison Gapnik: Using phones at night disrupts sleep, which is bad. Some of my friends have a Shabbat rule: everyone in the family turns off their phones on Friday night. On Saturday night, everyone can turn them on again. Thus, they spend the whole day in the company of family and loved ones, without being distracted by technology.

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