Young Parents Don't Stress Over Kids' Media Use: Survey
First generation to have lots of exposure to technology not as worried about its effects, researchers report
"What's compelling is we certainly have a generation of parents now who grew up with technology, and it's very much a part of everyday life for these families," she added. "There are different styles of use, and parenting styles set the agenda and help influence children's styles."
What is concerning to parents, according to the survey, was the negative impact screen time has on kids' physical activity levels. More than 60 percent said video games result in less movement by their children, with similar proportions saying the same about TV, computers and mobile devices.
Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, said pediatricians as a whole worry about the stationary nature of media use, which is reflected in exploding childhood obesity rates.
"The main contributing factor is the rise of technology, and children are spending a good amount of time behind screens instead of outdoors playing or indoors just moving around," Samuels said. "Another thing that ties into this is that it's really important for children to be active learners, not passive learners, and a lot of this screen time is really not an active way of engaging in their own education."
But, given the potential pitfalls, media use still offers many "wonderful benefits" to children, Samuels added, though it shouldn't encroach on one-on-one parenting time.
"It's much more difficult for parents to find the quiet moments to pass on life lessons and share quality time with their kids," she said. "Everywhere they turn, there's a tablet, a computer, an iPhone or a handheld device luring them away from what used to be the main arena where children would learn lessons in the family home."