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Melinda Gates Discusses Kids and Technology

How do Bill and Melinda Gates handle technology with their kids? If you think they were plugged into Microsoft products from infancy, you would be incorrect. Like those of us who aren’t billionaire tech giants, Bill and Melinda apparently don’t know any better than the rest of us how to keep their kids healthy and safe in an increasingly connected world. Nevertheless, they’ve discovered some tools to help parents and families along the way. Melinda Gates took to the Washington Post to share resources with parents concerned about kids on social media.

Interestingly, she says that she would have waited a little longer to give her kids smartphones. While every parent needs to consider their own values in deciding what’s best for their children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to one hour per day for children 0 to 5 years old. Medical recommendations for screen time are spotty at best for a few┬áreasons:

1. Technology emerges at a rapid pace, whereas carefully designed studies take time (especially studies concerning long-term effects).

2. Not all technology is the same. Watching Sesame Street benefits children who would not benefit from watching shows that aren’t carefully designed for their age group. The same principle applies to games and apps.

3. Not all children and families are the same. The AAP recommends coming up with a unique family media use plan. You can download resources on their website to help you consider the role media plays in your family, and how you can achieve the best balance.

If you are concerned about children and screen time, or teenagers on social media, check out the list of resources Melinda Gates provides in the article. Tell your pediatrician about any concerns you have about your child’s mental, emotional, and physical development.

Posted in Blog on September 5th, 2017