The American Academy of Pediatrics is unequivocal: If your kid is under 2, no screens. For older kids, two hours a day, max. But the AAP doesn’t differentiate between activities; education apps, base-jumping videos, first-person shooters, ebooks, Sesame Street, and The Shining are all thrown into the same bucket. It’s all just screen time. Trouble is, they’re not all the same. An app that teaches your kid his ABCs isn’t the same as a television cartoon, but the AAP is probably right to be conservative with its advice. “Researchers know almost nothing about the impact of touchscreen technology on young children,” says Heather Kirkorian, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is trying to find some answers. “Our society is running a large-scale experiment with real children in the real world, and we won’t know the impact, if any, for many years to come.”

Are Touchscreens Melting Your Kid’s Brain? | Gadget Lab | WIRED

"There is a common misconception that smartphones and tablets don’t need the same level of protection as a PC. "But with such a high percentage of parents not having a clear view of their children’s online activity, this way of thinking needs to change."

BBC News - Parents unaware of dangers faced by children on smartphones

There are two types of parents—those who in our study we call “unforgiving” in that they will punish poor school performance, regardless of the child’s birth order, and those who are “forgiving,” meaning they don’t like to punish any of their children, regardless of birth. The latter type of parent faces a dilemma. If they don’t punish their oldest child’s poor behavior, all of their children will know that mom and dad are pushovers who don’t punish for poor grades. As a result, all the children of forgiving parents will tend to not work hard in school. To avoid this situation, forgiving parents are strict with their first born, hoping to establish a perception that will influence the behavior of their younger children as well. The younger children, seeing their big brother or sister punished, will be less likely to slack off in school because they can’t be sure that mom and dad aren’t really unforgiving types. Call it “trickle down” discipline—you put the most energy into the first-born, trying to set the tone for all.

Birth order and school performance: First-borns do better in school because parents discipline them more.

Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America. The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking.

Reuters Investigates - The Child Exchange

Most Parents Show Little Worry About Media Use, Survey Says

Do parents worry about the growing amount of time their children spend with media?

One new study suggests that most parents are largely unconcerned. And perhaps no wonder: Parents who show little concern about their children’s use of technology themselves spend big chunks of their leisure time with media.

The study, undertaken by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University, was intended to look at how parents view technology — from television to smartphones to tablets — and how family life revolves around these devices.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

Kids access porn sites at 6, begin flirting online at 8

Kids start watching porn from as early as the age of 6, and begin flirting on the Internet from the age of 8, according to a survey of over 19,000 parents worldwide.

What’s more, kids are accessing instant messaging and computer games at a much younger age than just a few years ago. At the extreme, 3.45% of kids covered in the analysis used Instant Messaging to chat with friends while 2% of computer game addicts were just 5 years old.

» via USA Today

94% of parents say libraries are important for their children

from recent findings published in Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading, a Pew Internet & American Life Project

We thoroughly enjoyed hearing what the Pew crew had to say about parents, children and libraries! You can read the full report here

(via nypl)

Privacy is not something to be granted only if we prove we deserve it. On the contrary, there should be a strong reason to violate that privacy at all — especially in the case of minors or any other vulnerable population. The opposite of “secret” or “shameful” is not “public exposure is OK.” Privacy and exposure are not about secrets from everyone but about our integrity as a person and our right to share information about ourselves on our own terms.

Even With Parental Consent, Privacy for Minors Should Be Protected (via gjmueller)

(via gjmueller)

Hyper-parents can make college aged children depressed-study

Turbo-charged parents still running their university-aged children’s schedules, laundry and vacations could be doing more harm than good with a study on Wednesday showing these students were more likely to be depressed and dissatisfied with life.

Researcher Holly Schiffrin from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia found so-called helicopter parenting negatively affected college students by undermining their need to feel autonomous and competent.

Her study found students with over-controlling parents were more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives while the number of hyper-parents was increasing with economic fears fuelling concerns over youngsters’ chances of success.

» via Reuters

We seem to be under the impression that you can graft self-esteem onto your children if you just tell them enough how special they are. The reality is that self-esteem comes out of competence. How do you get confident about something? You get better at it.

Beyond Grades and Trophies, Teaching Kids the Definition of Success | MindShift