A few things happened all in the same week that made me decide I want to share my perspective on screen time.
- A delivery guy at work stopped me to tell me he sure hopes I don’t let me kids use screens. Side note: I work in an office, not around kids. I’m not sure how he knew I have kids or why he offered this.
- Next, a stranger rolled their eyes at me when I got my phone out at the park. Side note: My kids had a question about rollie pollies I was looking up. I am not a rollie pollie expert, but I did have a phone on me with access to that information.
- Finally, I kept seeing articles on social media about how screens cause speech delay in children. Side note: It wasn’t the content in the articles that got to me but the quick-to-judge comments blaming parents for ruining their kids and the world because of screens. Why do I read the comments?!?
So here it goes. My kids are allowed screen time, and that’s okay.
Apart from watching PBS kids on TV, my son did not use screens until he was at least 3. He has a speech delay. My daughter started using hand held devices around 1. She is a chatterbox. The effects of screen time are not absolute.
Using his tablet has actually helped my now 5 year old son, who along with a speech delay has had sensory issues. He watches other kids that do toy reviews or play games. When my son is finished watching his tablet he actually wants to play and socialize more, like the kids in the videos. He also is kicking butt on a reading app and builds things he’s learned about on his tablet. Thanks to her tablet my almost 3 year old daughter can recite or sing just about any nursery rhyme you can think of and does yoga on hers.
Here are some things we’ve done that were inspired by my kids playing online. All of these were their ideas.
I think it is about balance
We use their tablets and my phone to look up pictures and information about things they are interested in and have questions about. We use books too. I don’t see anything wrong with using devices as an extra resource though.
There’s junk and quality in everything our kids can be exposed to. Screen content is no different. My kids use screens but not unlimited. My husband and I monitor what they watch and do. Yes, my kids have tablets, but they also play in the mud and swim and garden and run and play and read.
I’ll be minding my own business.
I also think each child and family is different. What works for us right now may not always work. What works for us certainly may not be best for you and yours. I am not immune to being judge-y myself. I’m sure there are those that do use screens too much or as “babysitters”. But thanks to these recent screen related incidents I have had, with the delivery guy, stranger at the park, and social media comments, I am going to try to not assume anything about what another parent is doing for and with their kids.
I am going to remember these encounters the next time it seems like someone’s kid has watched a lot of TV lately. Maybe mom has been sick. I am going to remember these encounters the next time I see someone give their kid a device when eating out. Maybe the kid was on the verge of a meltdown and the parents were trying not to bother other patrons while they get the bill paid. Heck, I am going to remember these encounters when someone says their child isn’t allowed screen time at all. I will assume parents are doing what they feel is best for their child. I hope that I will be afforded the some courtesy.
But now at our house my kids my kids are allowed screen time, and that’s okay.