We live in an age where we can hardly turn our heads without being confronted by screens. Tv’s, tablets and smartphones have quickly conquered both our living rooms, bedrooms and all places inbetween. As ‘adults’ we assume ourselves ‘immune’ to the effects this has on us. We carelessly spend every evening staring at ‘the tube’ or checking out the next episode of whatever series we’re binging on at that instant on our phones. As grown-ups this never really comes up as an issue, not really. But when it comes to kids opinions differ.
I was one of the lucky people to own a computer back when I was young. It was an old machine that still ran on floppy disks and had an OS written by my father. Knowing your way around DOS was still a requirement back then, as there were no fancy buttons to click that would do everything for you. I spent many hours on that thing. Doing so just fit my loner personality. Had my parents taken that away from me I think I would’ve been a very unhappy child. They didn’t though and I am grateful for that.
Our eldest, Jade, is in many ways a lot like me. She enjoys stories, has a peculiar sense of humor and loves video games. While she can thoroughly enjoy playing with other children, at the end of the day she loves to retreat back into her shell to be creative on her computer or iPad. Our youngest, June, enjoys watching a show with her mother before sleep but doesn’t nearly show the same interest in the iPad and computer as her sister did at that age. Two kids from the same parents, growing up in the same nest have grown to have very different bonds with screens. Of course we have changed and grown as parents since having Jade, but wether that can be held solely accountable for this difference is highly doubtful.
So, should we allow our kids unlimited screen time? It’s a tough decision to make! Every child is unique and different kids will respond differently when presented with the same stimuli. Should we, as parents, even have the right to forbid ‘screen time’? Yes and no. While, in my opinion (which I respect), it is not okay to just forbid screen time it is ok to help your child find a balance. If you take something away it becomes more enticing but if you help give it a good place in life it will help your child in the long run. Simply forbidding your child without a good reason, or exaggerating the limitations you put on your child, will harm them more than letting them roam free. As always it is important to remember that as a parent you are not your child’s boss, but should act more as a mentor and caretaker. Explain what you are doing and why, and come to agreements that work for both parties. This will help foster a bond of mutual respect between you and your children.
What are your views on ‘screen time’ ?