Making good decisions about screen time with your kids

From the Joint Media Engagement Project, shared through Creative Commons License.

No, this is not a report detailing what a bad parent you are because you let your children play for hours on tablets, phones and home computers. Instead, it acknowledges that screens are a part of life for adults, juveniles and toddlers. How can a mom, checking her work e-mall after supper, tell her 10-year-old that he can’t scroll through Instagram or play Minecraft online with a buddy?

We have arrived at a new place in the screen-time-for-children debate. Yes, you can still find headlines that discuss teens and depression and social media. And pediatricians will still argue for a balance of physical activity.

From the Joint Media Engagement Project, shared through Creative Commons license.

But nowadays, screen debates have gone the way of early apprehension over the arrival of radio, the telephone and television. As those media and tools became a part of everyday life, the analysis of their impact, and their potential, grew more sophisticated.

Think back to early television and FCC chairman Newton Minnow’s famous accusation of television as a “vast wasteland” of content in 1961. He called upon developers to create content “in the public interest.”

Five years later, along came Sesame Street, created by television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and collaborator Lloyd Morrisett. Their goal: “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them.” So how many kids, in America and around the world, learned to read watching Sesame Street?

Screens as learning tools are widely accepted. Good content for online media has arrived. Our main guest, Claudia Haines, a youth services librarian in Homer, wrote the book, “Media Mentorship: A Guide for Working with Children and Families” (2016). Children’s librarians have become the guides to the new media for children and their families.

As one study put it, it’s not about how MUCH time your child spends on screens, but WHAT they are viewing and doing. And better yet, are you co-viewing with them some of the time? And talking about it together?

As always, your questions and comments are welcome throughout the show. Please join us!

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Claudia Haines, youth services librarian, Homer, radio storyteller and author
  • Evon Zerbetz, Ketchikan artist, offering stay-at-home children weekly art prompts via e-mail



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  • LIVE: Monday, April 27, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
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