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Posted on May 21, 2018 by Christine Crosby in Baltimore, computers, devices, New York Times, unplug

Do You Know When To UnPlug Your G-Kids From Their Devices?

Do You Know When To UnPlug Your G-Kids From Their Devices?According to this article Maryland Schools May Tell Children When It’s Time to Log Off in the New York Times, schools may soon be stepping into control the time children are spending on their devices.

As a grandparent, I know this issue is fraught with emotion. Just try to take a device away from a teenager and see what happens. Even the parents have trouble doing it…and they are the big bosses, right?

Please read this intro and you’ll find a link at the end to read the full article.

Church Lane Elementary Technology School, a public school in Baltimore County, Md. Maryland could become the first state to address parents’ concerns about extensive computer screen time in schools.CreditMatt Roth for The New York Times

Maryland could become the first state to address parental concerns about computer screen time for children in the classroom.

Legislation passed this month would require state education officials to develop optimum health and safety practices for the use of digital devices in schools. Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has not taken a public position on the legislation. If he does not sign or veto it before May 28, the measure will become law without his signature.

The bill throws Maryland into an already heated national debate over the potential for digital devices and apps to addict children — and whether it is up to the tech industry or parents to make sure children don’t get hooked.

Church Lane’s district already has a health council that gives guidance on classroom technology.CreditMatt Roth for The New York Times

Mindful of such risks, a group of Apple shareholders recently wrote the company a letter that warned of the iPhone’s potential for overuse and that pressed Apple to develop tools for parents to better manage their children’s device habits.

Some pediatricians and parents are now raising similar concerns about classroom laptops, tablets and apps, partly because school districts are adopting digital tools in droves. Last year, primary and secondary schools in the United States spent $5.4 billion on 12.4 million laptop and tablet computers, according to International Data Corporation, a market research firm known as IDC.

Several pediatricians warned that heavy digital device use in schools or for homework could have unintended physical and emotional consequences for students, including vision problems, interrupted sleep and device compulsion. In particular, they noted that some classroom learning apps used powerful, video-game-like reward systems to engage and stimulate students, making it difficult for some children to turn them off.

“The concern is that many programs students use in school are entertainment and gamified,” said Dr. Scott Krugman, a pediatrician in Baltimore County who supported the school device bill. “We felt these are things that should be tracked and monitored.”So far, however, there is little concrete evidence on the potential health effects of digital learning tools for students.

Many schools are more focused on tapping the potential for digital tools to enrich children’s education — by helping them collaborate, create projects and research online — than on tracking the effects of screen time on students. And video-game-like math education apps may benefit some children even if the apps create problematic habits for other children, said Dr. David L. Hill, a pediatrician in Wilmington, N.C., who is the chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on communications and media.

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Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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