My new article published on the London School of Economics ‘Parenting for a Digital Future’ website.
‘The revised American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on family screen time may not make explicit reference to children’s brains, but there is an implicit assumption behind them that everyday parental decisions have serious ramifications for child development, and therefore require expert guidance. This echoes the same dramatising trope that runs through neuroparenting and rests on prior concerns about the effect of screens on young brains. That medical professionals feel it is their duty to stretch their expertise into the normal functioning of family life relies on a construction of the home as a high-risk environment where threats to brain development are commonplace. That parents are unreliable risk-managers unless explicitly guided by external intervention is also to be assumed.
Just as in explicit neuroparenting the inevitable uncertainty that accompanies having a baby is assumed to be so disorienting that new parents require intimate guidance, not just in the practical care of a newborn but in the appropriate emotional dispositions that must be adopted in order to ‘bond’ with and ‘stimulate’ the infant brain, so the AAP assumes that being the first generation of parents to guide children through the digital world must also require a medicalised intervention, albeit in the faceless form of the Family Media Plan interface.’