A recent New York Times post draws more attention to “screen addiction” – something that’s not officially diagnosed as a clinical disorder here in the U.S. (it is in China).
The general argument of the post is that kids spend way too much time playing video games, watching videos on the Internet, playing Candy Crush on their parent’s iPhones, etc. Most of the points the author makes are anecdotal, though she does cite some various studies that all point toward an alarming over-exposure to screens among children. While there’s no conclusive scientific evidence showing long-term harm from all that time spent staring at a screen, it seems like there’s a chorus of pediatricians and child psychologists telling us we need to reverse course.
“We’re throwing screens at children all day long, giving them distractions rather than teaching them how to self-soothe, to calm themselves down,” said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling book “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age”… “If kids are allowed to play ‘Candy Crush’ on the way to school, the car ride will be quiet, but that’s not what kids need.”
Readers’ comments on the article are pretty interesting. Even if there’s not yet enough scientific evidence to convince people otherwise, plenty of people recognize that it can’t be a good thing for an entire family to spend dinnertime at a restaurant face-down in their own devices.
That same conclusion is what drove us to create Tales Untold. It’s absolutely alarming to us how many kids (not to mention adults) we see staring at tiny screens thrust into their small hands, rather than interacting with the world around them. With our audio stories, we’re aiming to create an experience that’s as readily available as a game or video, without being solitary and reclusive. Listening to stories engages the imagination and encourages cognitive development among young kids, and is an experience that can be shared by the whole family.