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智能设备包围下的童年(英文)

更新时间:2015-11-3 20:28:15 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

摘要:一份在美国费城对父母进行的调查显示,有四分之三的孩子在4岁前就已拥有平板电脑、智能手机和iPods等电子设备,并在没有监督的情况下使用。专家表示,智能科技已经大肆入侵到现代孩子们的童年当中。

A small survey of parents in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of their children had been given tablets, smartphones or iPods of their own by age 4 and had used the devices without supervision, researchers reported on Monday.

The survey was not nationally representative and relied on self-reported data from parents. But experts say the surprising result adds to growing evidence that the use of electronic devices has become deeply woven into the experience of childhood.

Dr. Michael Rich, the director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, said he suspected that exposure to mobile devices among children elsewhere “is not all that different” from what was described by the parents in Philadelphia.

“Based on my observations of families with whom I work, I would not be surprised if these levels of device ownership and use were similar in many families,” he said.

According to a nationwide survey by Common Sense Media, 72 percent of children 8 or younger used a mobile device in 2013, for example, compared with 38 percent in 2011.

It was not clear how often the parents had bequeathed old devices as digital hand-me-downs or had bought new ones.

“That’s huge,” said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, who was not involved in the survey, which was published in the journal Pediatrics. “If children are sitting by themselves glued to digital candy, we simply don’t know what the consequences are for their early social development.”

In the survey, 350 parents, who were largely low-income African-Americans, filled out a questionnaire while visiting Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

One-third of the parents of 3- and 4-year-olds said their children liked to use more than one device at the same time, noted Dr. Hilda Kabali, a pediatrician and the lead author of the survey.

Seventy percent of the parents reported allowing their children, ages 6 months to 4 years old, to play with mobile devices while the parents did housework, and 65 percent said they had done so to placate a child in public.

A quarter of the parents said they left children with devices at bedtime, although bright screens disrupt sleep. “They are putting their child to sleep in an environment that keeps them from going to sleep,” Dr. Rich said.

According to the parents, nearly half of the children younger than 1 used a mobile device daily to play games, watch videos or use apps. Most 2-year-olds used a tablet or smartphone daily.

The American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended total screen abstinence for children younger than 2, but lately has softened its stance. It now advises setting time limits, prioritizing what it calls unplugged play and not using devices as pacifiers to calm toddlers.

A lack of parental supervision is more worrisome than the use of mobile devices by the very young, experts said.

In this sample, “a lot of media time is reportedly alone,” said Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. “It can’t be overstated: Children need laps more than apps.”

Professor Hirsh-Pasek lamented parents’ laissez-faire attitude about toddlers’ play with tablets. “Who would leave the dessert on the table and leave their kid alone with it?” she said.

Interactive apps, however, may teach children. Last month, a study published in the journal Science found that first graders who used an app called Bedtime Math with a parent improved their math skills within months.

Parents in the new survey, however, reported that their children sometimes used the devices to watch videos and other passive entertainment.

Some experts said it was far from clear that the use of electronic devices harmed children.

“They ring the alarm bell without any content on why we should be alarmed,” Dr. Rich said of studies finding that children are deeply engaged with electronic media.

Scientists must commit “to doing the research to understand how we are changed by the media we use,” he said.

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