• La'Chris Jordan

Over 80% of Parents Limit their Child’s Social Media and Mobile Devices, But Usage is Still High



For many parents, the conversation around children's usage of smartphones and social media has been at a fever pitch since COVID-19 prompted lockdowns and shifted education to virtual learning throughout the U.S. Two years later, those concerns among parents are even more prevalent as their children, especially those under 18, continue to rely on smart devices for social and educational interaction.

In a recent survey conducted by Pew Research, about 81 percent of parents of a child who was age 11 or younger said their screen time usage of smartphones, tablet computers and game consoles had them concerned. Amid the mounting questions, the World Health Organization issued guidelines on the amount of time young children should spend in front of screens, particularly for those under five years of age.

Overall, parents are apprehensive about the long-term effects of the high consumption of smartphones on their children's development: 71 percent believe the widespread usage might potentially result in more harm than benefits. According to a HealthyChildren.org , the majority of parents say they are at least somewhat concerned about their child being the target of online predators, accessing sexually explicit content, accessing violent content online or being bullied or harassed online.


Robin Brackbill, artist and CEO of Fabby-Do Creativity Cafe For Kids, says in a culture full of technology, a child may be set up in front of a TV or digital screen with programs labeled "educational." Because of this, she says, children can miss many important sensory forms of learning by touching, moving, and manipulating objects to create, build, and design.

"As the eldest of 10 siblings, my childhood was filled with constant creative activity, spurred on by parents who encouraged expression through the arts in all of my siblings," says Brackbill, who has operated Fabby-Do for more than 12 years in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. "Over the years as I watched kid's play replaced by technology, keyboards and screens, I realized they needed places where their creative brains could grow. I am often amazed how creative children can be when they are given unique supplies, no instructions, and the charge to express themselves."


Brackbill cites recent statistics as her motivation to have a "computer-free zone" for children. Media use by tweens (ages 8-12) and teens (13-18 years) has risen faster in the two years since the pandemic than the four years before. The research found 8- to 12-year-olds spend an average of five and a half hours a day on screens and consuming media. That rate climbs to over eight and a half hours a day for teens.


Robin Brackbill of Fabby-Do Creativity Cafe for Kids

For Brackbill, her life experience in art school, caregiving and preschool teaching, motivated her to design a playhouse to help children build their confidence in a fun, inviting, hands-on space. Multiple research studies support the idea that students who engage in the arts perform better in math, reading, and writing. They also show a greater capacity for higher-ordered thinking skills such as analyzing and problem-solving.

Brackbill's shop design was modeled and inspired by her love of vintage soda fountains and candy stores of the 1950s. As a collector of antiques, her shop transports visitors to another time and place before there were computers and wifi. Children are "inspired to think outside of the box and use their imaginations to color outside the lines."


"The goal is to evoke a feeling of creativity and nostalgia that reminds adults of their own childhoods," Brackbill says. "By removing the distractions of computers and mobile devices, it gives them the opportunity to actively join in the creative fun with their child."

ABOUT FABBY-DO

Founded by Robin Brackbill, Fabby-Do Creativity Café For Children is a nostalgic art space with a retro vintage vibe that transports guests to another place and time. It is a space meant to inspire a child's imagination while feeling celebrated and encouraged in their own creative process. By providing arts and craft kits to play in the shop or take the fun home, children are encouraged to color outside the lines and think outside the box in their creative process. For more info, visit https://www.fabbydo.com/ . For additional information, visit Fabby-Do on TikTok , Instagram , and Facebook . CONTACT

Robin Brackbill https://www.fabbydo.com/ fabbydobusiness@gmail.com (215) 939-0233

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