A new study was just released earlier today that shows e-readers and tablets are detrimental to children’s reading habits. Out of all the children that have e-readers and tablets, fewer than half actually use the devices to read. What’s even more shocking is that the children who did use the electronic gadgets to read only engaged in reading for five minutes per day-far below the minimum recommendations for optimal brain development.
The research supports earlier studies that show electronic gadgets are inferior for reading as it pertains to comprehension and learning. Children also read slower when staring at screens than they do when reading a paper book, and they retain much less information from screens than they do from paper.
When children read with printed books on paper, they read an average of a half an hour at a time. Compared with five minutes on an E-reader, 30 minutes is far superior, and that amount of time creates an environment for enhanced learning. Children remember the information better shortly after reading, and they are also able to retain the information they learned longer.
The new study released today suggests that e-readers and tablets are highly detrimental to children’s reading habits, but parents are not likely to pay much attention. Studies have shown that parents let their children use screens for up to seven hours a day. This is far over the maximum two hours per day total screen time recommended for children ages 2 and over. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero hours of screen time for children under age 2.
As parents continue to ignore experts’ advice, incidences of ADD and autism have continued to increase. There have been numerous studies that have shown overuse of screens causes brain damage, and experts worry that this brain damage could be severe in children under age two who have access to screens.
The lesson from this new study released today and previous studies is that screen time should be drastically reduced for all children. Screen time includes the television, computer, tablet, e-reader and smart phone. Combined, usage of these electronic gadgets should not exceed the recommendations of the medical experts.
As more and more studies get released that show the negative effects of gadgets, screen usage is on the rise in all age groups. Besides being detrimental to children’s reading habits, screens can cause addiction, depression, lack of self-esteem, lower productivity, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms and a variety of other negative effects.
At the same time parents report their children are having temper tantrums complete with screaming and crying when their devices are taken away, nothing is being done to stem the tide of gadget use in children.
In fact, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has remained steadfast in his commitment to increase the use of gadgets in schools and he refuses to acknowledge the recommendations of medical experts as it pertains to limiting screen use in children. He seems to be vastly ignorant of the effects of tablets and other forms of electronic learning on children’s brain development. “I’ve been very public that we need to move from print to digital as fast as we can,” he said in 2012. Since then, he has continued to turn a blind eye to the realities of screen usage, and he has a hand in the current vast decline of education in the U.S. because of ever-increasing technology in the classroom.
Studies can keep getting released, but until society wakes up and realizes that many of the children being raised today are suffering brain damage from gadget use, education in the U.S. will continue the downward spiral it’s been on for the last ten years. E-readers and tablets are detrimental to children’s reading and that is proven by multiple studies. When will parents and leaders in education take heed?
By: Rebecca Savastio