August 10, 2014

Rector’s Reflection – August 10, 2014

I read an article online a while back about the use of electronic devices – iPads, tablets, smartphones, etc. – by children. The article referenced a 2013 updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics on screen-time guidelines for children, including the recommendation to make a ‘family media use plan.’ The article went on to say that “although the AAP has been criticized for its ‘draconian’ recommendations to limit screen time to no more than 2 hours/day for school-age children and teens and to discourage it altogether for children less than two, there’s a growing body of research that supports these guidelines.”

I had already heard from some eye doctors who were seeing increases in near-sightedness in children, quite possibly linked to the different distances from the eyes that print media and electronic media normally require. This article went beyond increases in myopia. It pointed to studies that show light-at-night devices are linked to poor sleep, depression, and impaired cognition, and then went on to mention that sleep disturbances in children and teens are at an all-time high.

Bottom line, it recommended that parents limit the amount of total entertainment screen-time to less than 1 to 2 hours per day. If a child is experiencing attention, learning, mood, social, or behavioral issues, limit it even further, especially on weekdays. Moreover, it suggested that it would be a splendid idea to match each hour of screen-time with an hour of physical activity.

And this from a pediatrician: “Discourage screen media exposure for children less than 2 years of age. I’m more conservative and recommend this for less than three – a lot of the research is done on children three or younger.”

Wow. Bummer for the businesses that are making smartphones with a pacifier built in…

Anyway, I thought of this article when my attention was directed to this product.


The CTA Digital 2-in-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad.


Comfortable and child-friendly (as opposed to child-endangering?) potty with activity stand for iPad (2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation)

Adjustable stand securely holds and helps protect iPad while kids (more than one at a time?) play

Easy to clean with removable inner potty bowl, potty seat and splashguard

Clear touchscreen protector guards against smudges and messy hands (…)

3600 Rotating stand easily switches between horizontal and vertical views


I’m seldom at a loss for words and truthfully I’m really not in this case, but this is a reflection and not a textbook. I just hope parents understand the Pavlovian connections in potty training. Remember your mama turning on the water faucet?