Screen time is a daily topic in our household and I suspect it is for many of you as well. You will find no shortage of articles on how much is too much and what is the right balance. Earlier this week I posted a video by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She admits that her position on the subject is not clear cut and that as long as children have a balance, technology is not such a bad thing. Other opinions take a more black and white approach. Last month I read this article by a mom who strongly supports not giving her children a cell phone until after they turn 16.
It’s a hot topic for a couple reasons. One reason is that this is a new challenge faced by parents of this generation. There is very little history to look back on, so we are all learning as we go. There is also a safety concern of what they see online and who they connect with. Of course there are also the social implications of what is appropriate to share, what is not and what they see their friends sharing. It’s complicated. The number of scenarios are endless and almost impossible to predict. It’s also a topic that is surrounded by judgement. As parents, we all want to do the “right” thing but we are all struggling to determine what the “right” thing is when it comes to screen time.
Many of these articles focus on the perils of screen time – behavioral issues, sleep issues and the issues listed above. Our children have grown up during a time when entertainment is literally at their fingertips whenever they want it. Parents are also trying to juggle more than ever before, so using an iPad or movie to occupy your child while you get chores done is sometimes more of a necessity instead of a luxury. As a result it’s easy for our children to become conditioned to the idea that they must being doing something every second of every day. However, when you take away the screens something interesting happens. The first reaction may be “I’m bored” or “there is nothing to do”. Slowly creativity and imagination start to take over. Forts are built. Stores are opened. Games are invented. Adventures are had. New worlds are created. Eavesdropping on the conversations during these times is more entertaining than any screen could ever provide.
The debate about screen time and technology is just getting started and will continue to rage on for years to come. In the meantime, let’s not forget the importance of play time, creating something out of nothing and imagining that anything is possible.
Journal on this: What factors are most important to you in the screen time debate? Why? What do you think is best for your child’s personality?
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.