Originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times reporter David Pierson and I looked at why preschoolers like YouTube and whether it is good for them. And it is hard to avoid. While TV time can be limited, if your youngster has an iPad, then they have access to TV through YouTube all the time. Those who have never seen TV may be familiar with Hannah Montana in any case.
“The family and learning space is incredibly important to YouTube and one that is continuing to grow,” said Malik Ducard, YouTube’s global head of family and learning. And a quick review of the YouTube toddlers’ options proved that the same preschool shows that are available on TV are also on YouTube. Kids can meet Big Bird on Sesame Street.
Kids used to put on a cape and play Superman around the house. Now they’re pretending to be someone they know from YouTube. They’re learning how to be kids from the kids they watch. We discussed how pediatricians have for years recommended no more than two hours of screen time per day for children older than two. But it is no longer so easy to regulate because of the reality that kids use tablets and phones much more. It’s a delicate subject that requires more research given how new the technology is. “Still, experts say too much screen time can over-stimulate children and make them disengaged from the real world, not unlike TV.” says Pierson.
If kids have fun with their screens, that’s great. But they also need to ride a bike, swim and learn to solve problems with their Legos.
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