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Club Staffing - December 2019

Setting Time Limits with Apps

Lara L. Wakefield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Theresa Schaber, M.A., CCC-SLP

October 24, 2011

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Question

I struggle with using apps when we tell parents to reduce screen time.  Any suggestions?  

Answer

You don't want kids spending excessive amounts of time with electronics at the expense of other experiences.  I guess with everything, you set time limits and you can have strategies to say spend this much time a day or week using an app and then use these other things because we don't want them using the apps as a sole method of learning.  There are many other tools and experiences that they need to have.   I guess my suggestion would be to set some time limits and encourage parents to try that.  

In addition, we need to incorporate a purpose into these applications by making sure that there is a human component added to it.  This is accomplished by having the parent sit down with the child when they're going to play the application or run through the lessons.  In that way I think parents would be more conscious of reducing their childs time on the app because they have “other things to do” and can prioritize a segment of time.  They can say, “I'll ‘play’ with you for x amount of minutes and then we have to take a rest and do something else.” Parents have to keep in mind that even though a child may use an app independently, they would trade a long independent time for a short parent-child time whenever they can get it. That’s always been my experience in my house.

As educators and therapists, we need to discuss with parents that we use apps for teaching as one tool. We use a variety of other tools in a day.  We can stress that we use the app for a limited amount of time and that we are actively engaged with the students during that time.  We are either taking data, commenting, instructing, or using it as a springboard for discussion.

For more information on Young Children and Apps (ages 2-8 years), please consult the research from the Michael Cohen group:

http://www.mcgrc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ipad-study-cover-page-report-mcg-info_new-online.pdf

This is an excerpt related to the question:

Caregivers’ perceptions and attitudes

Novice caregivers with little touch screen experience express anxiety about their children using these devices, fearful that their child could access the Internet and inappropriate content. Additionally, App game play is not perceived as a constructive activity.

Experienced caregivers who own and use touch screen devices readily introduce their children to the technology perceiving that children learn by "figuring things out.” Many of the experienced caregivers regulate their children’s use of the touch screen devices.

Caregivers’ awareness of Apps educational content is limited. However, experience mitigates anxiety. Caregivers are enthusiastic, however, about the concept of App play that includes possibilities for learning and making things.

Caregivers perceived that Apps with greater value and an extended "shelf life" had the following characteristics:

1. Provide children opportunities to play and be entertained on their own;

2. Provide children opportunities to participate in digital activities that would otherwise "make a mess" or "get them into trouble," like splashing water in a pond or making cupcakes;

3. Provide children a rich game experience, with leveled play to sustain engagement;

4. Demonstrate children's progress through an interactive, embedded, and scaffolded curriculum;

 5. Allow children to easily learn how to play, yet require effort to master—so that game play is neither frustrating nor boring.

Dr. Lara Wakefield, CCC-SLP, has 16 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  She has researched the roles of the Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers in collaborative settings related to language and literacy for 13 years in several grant -funded projects. She has presented at state and national meetings for 13 years on these topics with a specific interest in writing development in children ages 2-7 years.

Ms. Theresa Schaber, MS, CCC-SLP, has 15 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist .  She has worked in various rehabilitation, SNF settings, and early childhood intervention.  For the past 3 years, she has been researching therapy apps in the context of evidence-based practice principles.


lara l wakefield

Lara L. Wakefield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Lara Wakefield, CCC-SLP, has 16 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist. She has researched the roles of the Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers in collaborative settings related to language and literacy for 13 years in several grant -funded projects. She has presented at state and national meetings for 13 years on these topics. She has a specific interest in writing development in children ages 2-7 years. Dr. Wakefield has worked in a variety of settings: rehabilitation, home health, schools, and universities. She is now in private practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Parent Advocate at Wakefield Consultation Services, LLC.

Affiliations include Wakefield Consultation Services, LLC, App Kickers Division. Currently, we are in process of developing a free app that will provide more extensive tutorials.  


theresa schaber

Theresa Schaber, M.A., CCC-SLP

Ms. Theresa Schaber, MS, CCC-SLP, has 15 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist .  She has worked in various rehabilitation, SNF settings, and early childhood intervention.  For the past 3 years, she has been researching therapy apps in the context of evidence-based practice principles. She works PRN and as a CF supervisor for a post-acute rehabilitation facility.


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