The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has been released, and is open for public comment. Allegedly, public comment is open until April 8, 2015, but the website claims that comments were closed on December 30, 2014 (see the last line of the page). Incompetence or clever legerdemain?
Among other things, the report is very concerned about how much time that children and youth are spending in front of screens (defined as “television and other types of media”). From the report:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than 2 hours a day of screen time (including television and other types of media) for children ages 2 years and older and none for children younger than age 2 years. However, children ages 8 to 18 years spend an average of 7 hours on screen time each day.
Very young children should not be consuming any electronic media at all, and the AAP is being very generous with suggesting 2 hours a day. What is remarkable is that school-aged children are in front of glowing screens for 7 hours a day. Only 7 hours? The report is not clear if the 7 hours include in-school screen time.
In the last quarter century, the cry has been that that “computers in the classroom” were “essential to learning” and to “prepare students for the workplace”—even though up to about 1978 there were virtually no computers in any K-12 institution. Today many children tote around a school-issued tablet. Children are wired practically from the moment they wake up, and this is the result of government meddling and indulgent parenting. Now that the monster has been created, the experts are busy creating “interventions” to reduce screen time. More from the report:
Multifaceted interventions to reduce recreational sedentary screen time may include home, school, neighborhood, and pediatric primary care settings, and emphasize parental, family, and peer-based social support, coaching or counseling sessions, and electronic tracking and monitoring of the use of screen-based technologies.
This is the native tongue of the educrat. To suggest “electronic tracking and monitoring” as a serious solution is a blatant abdication of responsibility and a clarion call to passivity.
One way guaranteed to slash the dreaded screen time in half is to order the students to turn their school-issued tablets and other devices to the proper authorities. Another way is that mom or dad can put it away the device until certain chores are done. Moms and dads (at least those of another generation) were not burdened by having to coach or counsel their progeny when switching off the TV when the Saturday-morning cartoons droned on past noon. “No,” is a pretty good intervention strategy.
The problem that “reducing screen time” is supposed to resolve is obesity, as well as a host of other health problems, such as diabetes and cancer. It doesn’t follow that children and youth with reduced screen times will be running around outside.
Especially since some municipalities have criminalized unattended children. There will be fewer kids walking to school, and walking to the library after school.
What used to be gym class—where actual running around took place—has been overtaken by “health” class, where one would think that students would learn how important it is to wash their hands, eat broccoli, and run around outside. Instead, “health” is code for “sex” where students can learn about contraception and various ways to pervert the regular course of nature.
The government created this sorry state of affairs, but given enough money and time, they can create even greater problems. To address (alas, never to be solved) these new-found problems will require time, money, and a special commission.