In the New York Times, Pamela Druckerman reviews two books on parenting and screen time, one by Anya Kamenetz and one by Naomi Schaefer Riley. Druckerman writes:
Kamenetz, lead digital education correspondent for National Public Radio, is the more soothing voice. She points out that not every child — or even every heavy user — will suffer ill effects. As with food allergies, ”for lots of kids, a peanut is just a peanut.” She advocates an approach inspired by Michael Pollan’s well-known dictate on food: “Enjoy screens. Not too much. Mostly with others.” (Her most upsetting conclusion, echoed by Riley and the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that parents should watch alongside toddlers.)
Riley, a former New York Post columnist who is a visiting fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, sees an insidious cultural problem and a moral failure by parents. She compares screens to alcohol and gambling: Not every child will get hooked, but it’s better to be safe. And by handing our kids screens, we are choosing “not to parent.”
Mike Petrilli reviewed the same two books for EdNext last month in “Parenting in the iPhone Age.”
Despite their differences in tone and conclusions, Kamenetz and Riley agree on some points. They both view technology in schools with great skepticism, and they both worry about screen time crowding out more wholesome pursuits, like reading and outdoor play.
— Education Next