Screen time has become an issue for my family. My kids are at the age where this is a valid issue. While they were younger, it wasn’t such a big deal. Their attention span was measured in seconds, and that included YouTube videos. Today, both of my girls have kindle fire tablets, they both play Roblox and watch YouTube videos.
Parenting just got complicated. Screen time has become an issue for my family. I tested it. Freyja my 4-year-old can spend the whole day, morning to night on her tablet. Not only that, but if we left the house, she wanted to bring the tablet with her. Brianna my 6-year-old doesn’t have the same problem. She goes to school or camp, and if she has a full day home, she doesn’t last a full day like Freyja does.
As someone as old as remembering when we didn’t have computers in every home, I have to say, I get it. I did not have the Atari or commodore in my household when growing up, so when I was around 18 I bought my first PC computer. It didn’t do much, but I was hooked. It opened up a whole new world. There were chat rooms, games and a whole new community. I could sit for hours in front of the computer, entertained.
My mom had a much harder time with this new thing in the home. It was a new and complicated technology for her to adapt to. It was hard on her generation. Later, she adapted. She adapted so well that she called me probably 10 times one night because her computer (my old one) wouldn’t turn on. After the basic trouble solving (is the computer plugged in) and a lot of frustration from mom, not getting her nightly computer fix in, it turned out she was turning the monitor on and off.
We adapted to a point that we got hooked. I work on a computer, my phone and a tablet. I get a lot of screen time. That’s hard to explain to a 4-year-old, yes mommy needs to work on the computer, but you can’t play on your tablet. I have always been open to new technology. I embrace it and allow my kids to embrace it. I even had them play on my PC so they would learn how to use a mouse. After all, our kid’s generation is going to have to learn, keep up and be in tune with technology.
But today Screen time has become an issue for my family. We had to set rules. No tablets/phones or watching TV at the dinner table. It’s important to us as a family to eat dinner together. It’s a simple rule that us the parents had to get used to as well. After all, what’s the point of eating together if we are all staring at a screen.
Screen time became a real thing. Freyja knows she has to earn her screen time. She needs to play outside, color, read, play with her toys before screen time. Some days, I’m too tired to deal with it, or too busy and I let her go nuts. I’m only doing the best I can being a stay at home mom while running my own business. It takes it toll sometimes.
The phone timer has become an indicator of play time vs screen time. I just don’t want to set her up for an addiction. I can still easily get her out of the house. She still prefers going to the playground over playing on her tablet. She still prefers going with me on walks or hikes instead of tablet time. But I’m starting to see that inner struggle.
Disconnecting has become an important part of our lives. We like to go to the mountains and just enjoy the outdoors and disconnect. I see how much I need it. I’ve worked on, played on and enjoyed computers for over 20 years. It does come with some stress. On the weekends I spend time with my family and barely even look at my computer. It took me probably 2 years to get to that point. What if…a client needs me, I just need to post this photo on social media, I need to answer mom and explain to her that I can’t see the same Facebook ads she sees on her screen, again.
Parenting is evolving and changing. It is incredibly different from what it was back in the day. I bet you hear a lot “When we were little we just bounced in the backseat instead of being strapped in a car seat, drank from the garden hose and didn’t come in until the street light went on. And my street didn’t even have street lights, and we survived!” Oh boy, we have our safety features because not everyone did survive. The same argument that some smokers get lung cancers while others don’t. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
It’s a different world. That same generation is yelling that the problem in the community today are video games and….screen time. There is so much violence because, screen time, your kid can’t read, because too much screen time (not because they are only 2). Whatever it is, I bet it’s due to screen time. It’s the devil.
To me, it’s about finding the happy medium. I work from home while keeping Freyja with me majority of the time. It’s boring. I have certain things I have to get done, then I can play. I don’t have time to keep her away from the screen for the whole day. She does well so far with the timed structure we have. And she appreciates the days when I just can’t deal with it and let her do whatever the hell she wants. I take comfort in the fact that every night, she goes to bed happy, fed, safe and loved wrapped in her unicorn blanket.