Since screens are a big part of modern life, shouldn’t we teach kids to use them more effectively rather than turning them off?
Though it may seem intuitive that introducing kids to digital technologies early will make them “better” or more effective at using tech, there’s actually no evidence to support that idea. While some parents feel pressured to introduce digital technology to babies and toddlers, there is actually no evidence that screen media is beneficial for children under two – and growing concern that it’s actually harmful. For older children, excessive screen time is linked to many pressing issues, including poor sleep habits, attention problems, anxiety, depression, materialistic values, and poor academic performance.
That is to say: while some high-quality media use can be beneficial, particularly for older kids, far too many children are spending far too much time with digital devices. Many educators, pediatricians, and other professionals working with children are concerned about device overuse because they see the impacts of it every day. They encourage children and families to spend less time with screens and spend more time in activities with proven developmental benefits, such as creative, active play and face-to-face time with peers and trusted adults. The Action Network is designed to support these educators and practitioners and the children and families they serve.
Will the Network provide recommendations or resources for making educational media choices?
The Network is specifically designed to bring together those who are working to reduce children’s screen time. For that reason, we will not feature resources on making educational media choices. There are many organizations and individuals (including many of our members) that make recommendations for age-appropriate and educational media for kids. Resources for reducing screen time are less well-known. Our goal for the Network is to elevate those voices and tools that promote healthy child development by helping families unplug more often.
I don’t work professionally with children. Can I join as a parent/grandparent/uncle/concerned citizen?
Yes! Anyone who is committed to reducing children’s screen time can join the Network. While some of our resources and educational opportunities are designed specifically for professionals, others will be useful to anyone who cares about kids. We hope that parents, grandparents, and others who join the Network will use our resources not just to help the children they know and love best, but to educate others about why limiting screen time benefits all children.
Will the Network offer continuing education credits or professional development hours?
We currently do not provide CEUs, but we hope to make professional credits available in the near future. If you are interested in receiving CEUs or professional development hours, please contact us and let us know the details of your field and learning needs.
How do I submit a resource to the resource library?
Click here to upload resources! We will review your submissions promptly and get back to you if we have questions. If your resource meets Action Network criteria, we will upload it to the site within two weeks.
How can I share my work with other Network members?
The Action Network offers multiple ways to collaborate. If you’re interested in presenting (either virtually or in-person), to other Network members, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
What is the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and why is CCFC the host of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network?
Through activism and education, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is creating a world where children’s lives are shaped by what’s best for them, not by corporate profits. Our work is grounded in the overwhelming evidence that child-targeted marketing undermines healthy development, as well as the belief that society bears responsibility for, and benefits immeasurably from, the wellbeing of children. CCFC holds corporations accountable for their marketing practices and advocates for policies to give children the commercial-free time and space they need.
CCFC works to reduce children’s screen time because screens are far and away the number one way marketers reach kids: through commercials, advergames, sponsored YouTube videos and social media content, and by promoting licensed characters that are used to sell food, toys, and more. Increasingly, marketers also track kids’ online behaviors to build consumer profiles of children and families. The simplest way to shield children from harmful commercialism and protect kids’ privacy is to reduce the amount of time they spend with screens.
It’s easy to forget that digital devices are essentially data-gathering and marketing delivery systems. But Silicon Valley insiders have revealed that newer technologies and platforms are deliberately designed to be addictive because our attention is a valuable commodity. In other words, it’s not just that commercialism is a harmful byproduct of children’s media; it’s that many of the problems associated with children’s technology use are a direct result of media being designed for the benefit of advertisers, not families.