Australian parents need clearer and more consistent guidelines for deciding their children’s mobile device screen use, according to a research published on Monday from Western Australia’s Curtin University.
Lead researcher, Prof. Leon Straker said that there were conflicting advice from authorities which is leaving parents unsure about what is best for their children.
“We found that the current national guidelines provided in Australia consisted of conflicting information, philosophies, priorities and processes, making it difficult for health professionals and educators to give valuable and balanced advice to parents on the use of digital technologies,” Straker said.
Many now consider the use of mobile touch screens to be ubiquitous with the modern world, and, therefore, important for children to become comfortable with.
“However, it is important to address both the positive and negative effects of digital technology for young children,” Straker said.
“Education and industry authorities encourage the use of digital technology by young children to prepare them to thrive in the digital world, while health authorities discourage the use and raise concerns about the potential negative effects on children’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being.”
This conflicting advice is leaving parents and teachers with no clear understanding of how best to familiarise young people with the technology which increasingly forms part of daily life, while also setting boundaries for use and allowing their minds to develop naturally and healthily.
“Our findings may be of interest to health providers, family doctors, along with educators and other professionals, who are in an ideal position to help families more successfully navigate through this rapidly evolving digital world.”