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Why I DON’T limit screen time

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The MOMO hoax has been much in the news recently but, now that the moral panic has subsided, common sense is back.
We live in a complicated technological world. Technology was supposed to free us but I think it constrains us more than ever. Parenthood is tricky as we try to negotiate the need for developing a confident handling of technology with social responsibility, and the need for kids to be kids.

 

Screen time is not something I actively monitor. The time itself is limited only by the battery of the device! Matthew and Anya go on their Kindles early in the morning so that I can get some rest after yet another sleep deprived night with Zach.
But screen time also focuses on the content. I do not exercise control over this with my children. There have been times that the odd swear word pops up on YouTube videos but the children don’t understand them and tend not to notice them. In fact, it has been us drawing attention to the words that puts the swearing on their radar.
I trust my children to be responsible with what they watch and if they think something is unsuitable then they will stop watching. We do have some parental controls in place (especially after Zach managed to download an expensive app!) but mostly they are independent.
Screen time can be hugely beneficial to the children. They are experts on building in Minecraft due to videos they have watched for inspiration and help. It has fed their love of knowledge (particularly Matthew and his obsession with dinosaurs and the evolution of our planet).
The kids also enjoy the social aspects of games, whether that is being competitive on the Wii or demonstrating their expertise on their Kindles.

Zach is something of a genius. He is almost 3 but can write the alphabet, knows his phonic sounds, can count to 100 and beyond. As I sit here typing at 6pm on a Sunday night, he is watching videos in French to learn vocabulary. This is all generated by him and I have not pushed him at all!

If screen time was the only thing that the children were interested in, then I would be concerned. But they want to play outside and use sticks as swords or wands. They want to read and make things creatively including cooking, crafts and music. They enjoy spend time with friends, family and each other.

Matthew has already asked me for a mobile phone because he wants to play games. I think I will give him a phone when he begins to go to places on his own and certainly when he goes to secondary school. I am fully aware that our relationship with screen time will change significantly when social media enters the equation.
Do you limit screen time? Do you worry about your children being online too much?

Please comment and share!


16 comments

  1. I don’t but I don’t think that was definitely a good move. The problem with the homework being done on line and the phones is that it is all a bit too accessible. We have to book in ‘offline time’ usually outside and out of the house. I know it’s altered my wiring, and I’m working on changing my habit a bit. Can’t imagine what it’s doing to theirs. #GlobalBlogging

  2. I think it’s brilliant that your kids are sensible enough to turn off a video if they recognise it’s inappropriate – I don’t even have the self control to do that half the time haha.
    Debbie
    P.S. Thanks for hosting #GlobalBlogging

  3. When my kids were all little “screen time” was a fairly new thing and all we had access to here in our rural setting was dial up internet, so it wasn’t an issue.
    I did limit tv time because it requires no brain waves and barely a pulse.

  4. Interesting take … it really does depend so much on context, and what the screens are actually used for! I admit we are struggling with imposing more limits on our teenage daughter’s social media use, as we think it is definitely taking up way too much time, and is hardly productive. #GlobalBlogging

  5. I never had to limit screen time in the way parents do today with the content that can be accessed via the internet, but i did have restrictions on game boys and then the Play Station. Each child was different, the eldest would go into meltdown if his game boy ran out of charge and we had to literally snatch it from him some times as he refused to do anything else. The middle two played sports, were out most nights with their mates and therefore allowed to on the playstation before bed, rather than watching TV. The youngest had far more access to the internet as a young teen, but he used youtube to learn how to do things such as wiring his train set or learning for school as he is dyslexic and learns better with visual aids #globalblogging

  6. For me, it really depends on how it affects my kids. I like tge benefits of learning that it gives plus if I need some time to work on things, it keeps them entertained. But I do try to find a balance because, like everything else, it does have some cons as well if too much (from eye strain to impatience for example). #globalblogging

  7. I think screen time is fine as long as there are other times for outdoors and interacting in person with people. My 3 year old also loves the foreign language videos on youtube, I’m hoping that it is sinking in! #GlobalBlogging

  8. We can’t avoid it because it is always going to be a part of our children’s lives. This is just the era we are living in. My daughters are 4 and 2 and I don’t let them use the ipad or our phones because I tell myself that there will be plenty of time for that yet. So for now I try to keep them limited to watching tv and that’s it really. Granny loves to hand over her phone to them whenever she sees them and they absolutely love that! #globalblogging

  9. I think it’s all about knowing your children and establishing boundaries based on those children. I don’t think a ‘one size fits all’ approach to screen time and content would work since each child is different. And hurrah to you for being brave, this is not something most parents want to admit to. #GlobalBlogging

  10. I don’t monitor screen time as such – but if I feel there’s been an excessive use on any given day or weekend, I will call it a day. The kids don’t like it but it’s something I have to do. They know there are limits and it’s getting easier as they get older x #StayClassyMama

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