Remember how the AMA recommendations concerning screen time have been terrible? For example, the AMA treats TV and video games the same even though one is passive and one is active.
Lisa Nielsen, who leads technology initiatives for New York City public schools, has been saying for years that not all screen time is equal. So recently I was super-excited to read that the American Medical Association is retracting its draconian, outdated recommendations for raising kids.
I think the AMA is too invested in maintaining the status quo instead of leading reform.
For example, the AMA combats child obesity by saying kids need to go out and play more. The obvious response would be that kids are in school too long. Philip Greenspun shows that other nations score better on standardized tests than US kids do, and those kids are in school for four hours a day. So if the AMA wants to get kids outside more, you think they’d go after the long school days. Is it healthy for kids to sit in a classroom all day? No. Of course not.
So far, the AMA is not recommending homeschooling. But I do think that eventually—like, in the next ten years—the AMA will recommend educating kids at home. And here’s what gives me hope:
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement saying the group is rethinking it’s low-tolerance approach to screen time. The AAP admits that their view of technology is outdated and says “our policies must evolve.”
That’s satisfying to me. Because I tell myself that in ten years it will be a no-brainer to homeschool, and parents will stop telling themselves lies about the perils of screen time. Meanwhile, the new guidelines won’t be available until fall 2016. Which underlines the need for parents to act on their own without waiting for some sanctioned medical community to give permission.
We need to take the health of our kids into our own hands. If the national medical associations are retracting what they thought was true, then surely the parents cannot do any worse. We need to go with our instincts, because the advice of experts is the last thing to keep up with the realities of our kids. Our kids do not need to wait until the doctors get it right.