New Minnesota screen time law limits use in pre-K, kindergarten classrooms

(ABC 6 News) – A new Minnesota law that started on July 1 limits screen time in classrooms across the state. The bill prohibits children in public preschools and kindergarten classrooms from using an individual-use screen without engagement from a teacher.

The new legislation reinforces developmentally appropriate practice.

Mayo Clinic said when it comes to learning, children learn best with face-to-face interaction.

“With children, we also worry about the additional effects on behavior, on development, to both cognitive abilities as well as literacy skills and social development,” Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin with the Department of Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center said.

Dr. Ameenuddin serves as the chair of the council that wrote these recommendations on screen time. Excessive screen time can have a number of detrimental effects both on children and adults. Mayo Clinic said the effect the clinic has the strongest evidence for is increased risk of obesity as screen time is considered a sedentary activity.

“So we want to make sure that screen time, even though we know that it’s an increasingly large part of children’s lives, is not displacing other very important activities that they need to grow and develop to their maximum potential,” Dr. Nusheen said.

For children ages two to five, or pre-K age, Mayo Clinic recommends no more than one hour of high-quality educational screen time a day.

Local parents like Elizabeth Sloan said they are happy that Minnesota schools will be regulating screen time. Sloan has five kids and she said during the summer they make their kids earn their screen time.

“I do it because I myself didn’t grow up with it and I noticed in the older two boys that more screen time was affecting their mental health,” Sloan said.

Sloan said she can also notice a difference in other children who have no regulations on their screen time.

“It definitely makes a difference it truly does,” she said.

Education Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education Olivia Christensen said that healthy, appropriate and safe technology u see is already a part of Minnesota’s early learning standards.

“I don’t think this is going to be a big shakeup to any schools or classrooms,” Christensen said. She added this new law is a proactive and preventative measure that has been put in place by the state to remind us how young children learn.