Guest Post – I give my kids all the screen time they want

It’s a modern-day parenting nightmare – how much screen time is too much?

It seems the age at which a child is swiping and scrolling is getting younger.

Now, American doctors have put out new advice on how long – or little – kids should spend in front of a screen.

On a sunny day, there’s little excuse for children being stuck to their screens. But this is a digital age, and they are now part of everyday life – a part more and more parents are trying to control.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just issued new recommendations around how much time children should spend watching TV and tablets.

It says for those younger than 18 months, there should be no screen time. Ages two to five – up to one hour a day, and only educational programmes. And once the kids are older than six, parents should decide.

“Media use cannot displace sleep; it can’t displace physical play; it can’t displace family meals and social interaction,” says Dr Corrine Cross. “Those are really the jobs, if you will, of a young child, and they need to do those before they’re using media.”

Our Ministry of Health has similar recommendations. It also believes those aged five to 18 should spend less than two hours a day – that’s not including school hours in front of the TV and computer. ? — Newshub

It’s not screen time that’s the problem. ?It’s not managing your children’s lives in the first place. ?My kids have screen time almost all the time. ?Weekends are wall to wall screen time.

However.

They are put to bed early compared to their peers. ?The last hour of the day is not screen time, but book time. ?That’s to disconnect their brains from the games. ? ?They excel academically. ?One of them being at the top of his school.

As parents, we could not see the logic in restricting screen time when

  • we were on screens all day long
  • they were healthy, happy, well socialised, rested, fed and academically successful

Perhaps our family is unusual, but in our experience, limiting screen time would be like limiting anything. ?It’s kind of arbitrary.

When we were growing up, the same arguments existed about TV. ?Too much TV watching, blah blah. ?And look at us now. ?We clearly ended up OK. ?Ish.

Screen time these days is much more interactive compared tot he days TV had us captured. ?My kids are solving problems, they are socialising and learning about team work, they are learning about technical things like programming, or solving a problem that the computer has developed. ?And it is all organic.

The screens are not a substitute. ? We keep a careful eye on their moods, their state of mind, how much rest they are getting, and so on. ?And once we get that right, they can have computers, iPads and phones until the cows come home.

I think the problem with screen time isn’t the screen itself. ?Once again, as Cam frequently says, the real problem is shit parenting.

Don’t get me wrong: sending the kids outside is absolutely fine. ?Just don’t tell me that my kids having lots of screen time every day they’re not at school is damaging them. ? It patently is not.

And if we are honest with ourselves, all the “experts”, medical “professionals” and “psychologists” that haunted?our parents about letting us watch too much TV were wrong. ?Nothing wrong with me. ?Or you. ?Nothing that the TV caused, anyway.

 

– Jessica

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