Parents Take Note

An excerpt from An Electronic Silent Spring by Katie Singer

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Kaiser Permanente warn that too much screen time is associated with children’s violent behavior, poor school performance, lower reading scores, sleep pattern disturbances, obesity and bad habits later in life such as tobacco and alcohol abuse. (1,2) Kaiser recommends limiting screen time to less than two hours a day for teens, less than one hour a day for children ages three through twelve, and no screen time for children under three.

To reduce screen time, Kaiser suggests:

* turning the TV off during meals
* keeping TVs, computers and video game consoles out of kids’ bedrooms
* keeping cell phones and iPods out of bedrooms at night
* not using screen time as a reward
* exercising as a family by walking, riding bikes or playing sports together
* encouraging your children to write a story or create an art project. (3)

Sandi Maurer, Throughout the U.S., schools have begun providing children with wireless computer tablets for learning and testing. New, stronger routers are being installed in classrooms. The Los Angeles Unified School District is issuing wireless iPads, even to elementary-aged students. This push for computers in the classroom is part of Common Core State Standards, the new federal curriculum. It eliminates community-based planning. It brings computer testing into schools and gives the government a new tool to track and profile children.

Few parents (and educators) are well informed about the issues.


iPad health risks

In its users’ manual, Apple warns iPad users about the device’s health risks, including headaches, blackouts, seizures, convulsion, eye or muscle twitching, loss of awareness, involuntary movement or disorientation.

The Apple Support Forum ( posts consumer complaints such as: “Is it just me or does someone else also feel dizzy or nausea after using iPad for a while?”

“I looove the iPad, but I don’t think I can keep it as I get nausea and feel a bit dizzy just using it for a few minutes.”

“Just today finished series of tests…echocardiogram, brain scan, ultrasound on carotid artery, the works…to diagnose dizziness, and even one fainting episode..since Xmas. Guess what I got for Christmas…iPad…”

1. “Limit screen time for healthier kids” at
2. Strasburger, MD, Victor, et al, “Children, Adolescents and the Media,” Pediatrics 2013:132958-961.
3. “Limit screen time for healthier kids” at