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Moms don’t feel lots of guilt over screen time with iPad and other touch screens

Photo by Wayan Vota

Many parents pacify their children with a computer game while getting dressed, taking a phone call or riding the bus. But I would have guessed they’d feel guilty about it. A new study, released on April 17th by the Ruckus Media Group at the Sandbox Summit at MIT, found quite the opposite.

In a survey of 300 parents, only two percent said they “strongly feel guilt” about letting their children, aged 4 to 8, play with a touch-screen device such as an iPhone or iPad. (Fifty-six percent felt “somewhat guilty.”)

But here’s the interesting part: The more apps parents have purchased for their children, the less guilty they feel. And parents who think that the apps are educational are least likely to feel guilt. In other words, a parent’s perception of the educational value of a game affects whether he or she feels guilty about screen-time.

Still, a quarter of the parents surveyed don’t think the apps they download for their kids are educational. Twenty-eight percent do. The remaining 47 percent are somewhere in between.

Who knows how educational the apps that parents download for their children really are. But Ruckus has a financial stake in relieving American parents of their guilt: The company develops apps for children that it believes are educational. And earlier this week, the company launched a new educational platform, RuckusReader.com.

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Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay is a contributing editor who writes the weekly “Proof Points” column about education research and data. She taught algebra to ninth graders for… See Archive

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