The article by Etchells et al. in The Guardian in 2017 presents a subject that is polarizing in its extremes. Particularly as the issue in this case is specifically about children. The article is in response to a letter written by “writers, psychologists and charity heads” asking for policies to be created in the UK regarding children’s access to “screen time” (Etchells et al., para 1). Although I do not have children of my own, I do very much care about the other beings who share this planet, so I understand the responsibility inherent in this topic. However, the other, very concerning issue is the idea of government-imposed guidelines. As Etchells et al. observe, the authors of the letter requesting guidelines should be implemented, without adequate research could be disastrous.
It is likely that most of us could provide a number of examples of the results of unresearched government intervention. And for this reason, the concerns of Etchells et al. are noteworthy regardless of any one position on the spectrum of this issue. Instead of attempting to enforce restrictions on consumption of screen time, a commodity like any other, we would be better served by educating ourselves to make informed decisions based on in-depth research. Afterall, digital technologies are part of our lives and will be for the foreseeable future so managing their impact, rather than ‘outlawing’ their use will likely be more productive in terms of ethics as well as physical well-being.
Etchells, P., et al. (January 6, 2017). Screen time guidelines should be built on evidence, not hype. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2017/jan/06/screen-time-guidelines-need-to-be-built-on-evidence-not-hype