When is it time to introduce kids to technology?

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – Emily Cherkin knows what it’s like to worry about children’s exposure to screen time. The mother of two is also a former middle school teacher. She has seen the impact in the classroom and at home. 

She now advocates for responsible screen use as The Screentime Consultant. Her business helps families become what she calls tech-intentional. She says technology’s impact on the brain and the body starts really young. 

Emily recommends keeping screens away from children until age two unless they are spending time virtually with relatives. She says for older children it’s important to remember that tech companies are designing products to capture their attention. She doesn’t believe in parental controls to manage screen time because it’s another burden for parents. Instead, communication is key.

“I encourage parents to talk about persuasive design with their children, to tell them in whatever age-appropriate language ‘you are being tricked, this game is tricking you to stay on it longer, that’s why it’s so hard to get off.”

Emily also reminds her clients that children learn by example, meaning they are watching what adults do on their devices. She suggests narrating activity so children can understand the purpose the technology should serve in life.”It might be ‘I’m reaching for my phone to look at Google Maps to see how to get to soccer practice. Oh, I got a text from grandma, she’s coming by at 6. I’m looking at the weather.’ So we are showing our kids how were using our devices.”

Emily hopes parents will when they are not consistent about enforcing the rules. She also hopes adults realize children are capable of navigating the digital world with guidance and support.

You can learn more about how Emily’s services here. You can also sign up to download a recording of her masterclass “How To Be a Tech-Intentional Parent” and her handbook “7 Ingredients for Screentime Balance” here.

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