After another round of holidays, it's safe to assume, a lot of children have been diving into media more than usual. They may have received new electronic toys and gadgets or downloaded new apps and games. Managing all that bleeping and buzzing activity causes anxiety in many parents. Here's a roundup of some of the latest research, combined with some of our previous reporting, to help guide your decision-making around family screen use.
1. Globally, tech brings young people opportunity as well as risk
A new report from the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, surveys the online experiences of children and youth around the world. They found that adolescents and young people are the most connected generation and that children under 18 represent 1 in 3 Internet users worldwide.
Digital resources are expanding access to education and work, and in some places, young people are using them to become more civically engaged.
But there are serious harms — such as sexual abuse, child pornography and sex trafficking — that are exacerbated by the Internet, especially in the developing world. And in the developed world, there are emerging concerns about the ties between Internet use and mental health problems like anxiety and depression. The key, say the authors of the UNICEF report, is "taking a Goldilocks approach" — not too much, not too little — and "focusing more on what children are doing online and less on how long they are online."