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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Education
Guidance Document Change: The 2020 General Assembly passed House Bill 817 requiring the Department of Education (VDOE), in collaboration with the Department of Health and medical professional societies, to develop and distribute health and safety best practice guidelines for the use of digital devices in public schools no later than the 2021-2022 school year. These guidelines address digital device use for different age ranges and developmental levels, the amount of time spent on digital devices in the classroom and at home, appropriate break frequency from the use of digital devices, and physical positioning as it applies to ergonomics and posture.
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4/12/21  1:12 pm
Commenter: Lauren Ford

A stronger stance is needed to protect our children
 

I appreciate the efforts to pull together this draft guidance.

My concern is that these guidelines imply that use of technology for countless hours a day is a given for all children.  The intent of these guidelines appear to simply lessen the myriad physical, mental, educational, and developmental damage technology is causing our children. We must step back and remember that we developed technology to serve us. It appears we are now assuming we are here to serve technology. That it should be assumed children will suffer and our goals are simply to lessen the damage a bit. These are dangerous assumptions.

Our children - their physical health, mental health, and education - must always come first. There are times when technology can be utilized to support learning. But studies clearly show this should be no more than 1-2 hours a day for elementary aged children. Our pediatrician insisted that elementary aged children should have no more than 2 hours of screen time total - including tv, social media, schoolwork. The physical and emotional needs of our children have not changed since that time - only the political pressures of the tech industry. Why do we continue to allow them to push their products, take larger and larger chunks of our education budgets, at the expense of our children? 

These guidelines also seem to assume that regulation of technology rests primarily upon parents. This is reasonable for parent-provided technology. But when schools push for the majority of all work to be tech - based - this eliminates parents ability to limit screen time. When nearly all school work and homework are screen driven - parents are disempowered to control - shy of sitting next to their students all day to monitor they are working on "homework."

I ask that you are bold and courageous in your guidelines - and give specific time limits per age/grade that correspond with physical and mental health realities. With no screen time for infants and toddlers and shifting up gradually as appropriate by grade, developmental level. I would also suggest that 1 hour a day outdoors is not enough for elementary aged children. The more free play, physical exercise, and connection with nature children are allowed - the less likely they will suffer ADHD, anxiety, depression, and the better the learning outcomes. 

CommentID: 97701