There is a discussion going on between regulators and program makers to ban kids from watching any screen be it television, tablet, smartphone or computer.
France is urging the parents to stop children less than 3 years old to watch TV. American pediatricians also believe in a complete ban on screen time for children less than 18 months.
Carole Bienaime-Besse, France TV regulator said that exposing small children to too much of digital device is becoming “public health issue”.
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She said, “People are realizing that screens can cause addiction even among very small children, and in extreme cases autistic problems, what is called virtual autism. Silicon Valley also knows this. There are lots of educational apps for babies, but in the end, the results are counterproductive.”
As per studies “children over-exposed to them are the ones who find it hardest at school.”
In 2008 France did banned broadcasters from showing program for under 3-year-olds. Baby TV was also blocked from launching there. Now the programmers feel that parents use TV to babysit children, how can that be controlled by banning it.
Alice Webb head of BBC’s children’s arm, CBBC, and the CBeebies network for pre-school children said, “It is admirable, but probably unrealistic” to keep children away from screens.
She further said “Those times are long gone. Digital is everywhere. This is a tide you cannot get ahead of. We need to have this conversation now because we don’t want to be saying to ourselves in 10 years time, ‘What did we do to our children?’”
Furthermore, she said, “We have games and apps that are about helping children develop the cognitive skills that a two-year-old needs. This is about learning on screen and in the real world at the same time, it is not an either or and it’s all about moderation.”
As for the older children, Webb said it was “impossible to think we can control what goes online”.
She believes that the only way we control what children watch is by telling them what is for them and what is not. “Own It” is a new online resource set up by BBC to aid children in dealing with the challenges of social media.
Moreover, she was skeptical about social media apps like Facebook who claim that they only provide access to older children, she said, “I think it is absurd that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are not regulated like other content suppliers.”
She said, “Kids should become masters of technology by learning coding rather than being slaves to it.”
A complete ban will be difficult but there should be regulations and the content shown to very small children needs to be controlled.