Bill would protect young children from screen time overuse

A bill discussed in the E-12 Committee this week would define parameters on the use of electronic devices in public preschools and kindergarten classrooms, and provide funding for an informational campaign to educate parents on the hazards of overuse of electronic devices. The funding requires a dollar-for-dollar match and appropriates $500,000 in one-time funds for the educational campaign.

The educational awareness campaign would be run through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The dollar-for-dollar match is required to come from the contractor providing the campaign. The other bill provisions would prohibit a child in a publicly funded preschool or kindergarten program from using an individual-use screen, such as a tablet, smartphone, or other digital media, without engagement from a teacher or other students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines on screen use in young children. The AAP acknowledges there are benefits to electronic devices for children but that children should be limited in their use (one hour/day) and that adults should be present when they use to continue human interaction with children.

No action was taken on the bill and it was laid over for possible inclusion in a larger bill. (SF 237)