When it comes to children’s development, parents should worry less about kids’ screen time—and more about their own.
by Erika Christakis
Smartphones have by now been implicated in so many crummy outcomes—car fatalities, sleep disturbances, empathy loss, relationship problems, failure to notice a clown on a unicycle—that it almost seems easier to list the things they don’t mess up than the things they do. Our society may be reaching peak criticism of digital devices.
Even so, emerging research suggests that a key problem remains underappreciated. It involves kids’ development, but it’s probably not what you think. More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.
Yes, parents now have more face time with their children than did almost any parents in history. Despite a dramatic increase in the percentage of women in the workforce, mothers today astoundingly spend more time caring for their children than mothers did in the 1960s. But the engagement between parent and child is increasingly low-quality, even ersatz. Parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned. To be clear, I’m not unsympathetic to parents in this predicament. My own adult children like to joke that they wouldn’t have survived infancy if I’d had a smartphone in my clutches 25 years ago.
To argue that parents’ use of screens is an underappreciated problem isn’t to discount the direct risks screens pose to children: Substantial evidence suggests that many types of screen time (especially those involving fast-paced or violent imagery) are damaging to young brains. Today’s preschoolers spend more than four hours a day facing a screen. And, since 1970, the average age of onset of “regular” screen use has gone from 4 years to just four months.
Some of the newer interactive games kids play on phones or tablets may be more benign than watching TV (or YouTube), in that they better...click here continue reading
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The public perception of Muslim women is one of stubborn stereotypes: supposedly powerless and oppressed, behind walls and veils, demure, voiceless and silent figures, discriminated and bereft of even basic rights.
Contrary to this general belief, Muslim women have held the flag of enlightenment throughout history. The early Muslim community recognised and honoured a wide spectrum of female roles and responsibilities. A mother was considered the first school for her children. In Islam, a woman is seen as an individual in her own right, an independent entity, and not a shadow or adjunct to her husband or any other man. Islamic history abounds with women, both past and present, who have achieved and contributed significantly to intellectual and cultural life in the Islamic world.
One such iconic female figure was Khadijah bint al-Khuwaylid (565-623), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), whom she met when she was the widow of a wealthy merchant and was herself a highly successful and respected businesswoman.
Khadijah was the daughter of...
What does it take to be a good parent? We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated. Despite the significance that it holds in our lives, teaching children to care about others is no simple task. Are some children simply good-natured — or not?
There are plenty of times when parenting a strong-willed, sometimes disobedient child is a difficult, exhausting endeavor, it turns out there are plenty of benefits to a little bit of naughtiness or disobedience. Research shows that disobedient children earn more as adults and are also more likely to be entrepreneurs. As it turns out, some rather intelligent children who defy authority or challenge the status quo tend to think more outside the box, lending them a certain creative upper hand when it comes to new ideas and starting businesses. Entrepreneurs tend not to play by the rules.
Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, explains that