To screen time or not to screen time, that is the question.
It’s a question I’m still asking myself even though my nearly 3-year-old already gets some “screen time.” The term itself didn’t even exist until a few years ago when handheld electronics not only became common but also the norm.
In the beginning my iPhone was a “in case of emergencies” kind of device for things like doctor’s office waiting rooms, the last 20 minutes of a meal out when things got dicey or in line at the DMV. I downloaded a free few educational apps and had a “Miles” folder on my phone.
But I saw some benefits to using the device for both of us. He was learning things; I was getting some peace. So the use didn’t become regular (it still isn’t regular) but more frequent. There are certain situations where I’ve become almost dependent on the device though — restaurants and waiting rooms are a great example.
And then the whole screen time issue became even more complicated when Miles received his very own screen — a Nabi 2. The iPadesque device is specifically made for kids and is filled with some pretty fun and educational games. Miles received the tablet from his godfather, one my closest friends, for Christmas. We keep the device out of eye sight until he’s allowed to play it. It gets pulled out for specific situations and a few times a week.
Like many decisions we make as parents, I question our reliance on technology. Are we using it too much? Not enough? Making his brain mushy? Not giving him enough challenges?
And what about television, a screen that hasn’t really needed advancements in technology to be at the forefront in our kids’ lives. I know he watches more TV than I’d like or expected him too, but then again, I think my grand plans might have been a little unrealistic.
The times when I feel like we might need to scale back the phone/tablet time is when he spies me pull my phone out of my purse and demands (even though he uses the word, “please,” he still can be pretty demanding about it) to use the phone. His response, “It’s my momma’s phone,” his way to take ownership of something he knows is not his.
The good of the devices is very clear. He recognizes most of his letters now after playing “Zoo Train,” he finally has mastered his color recognition after trying countless different methods of practicing colors in the nonelectric world failed and his ability on the tablet and phone to effortlessly put together puzzles, match pictures and even create train tracks leaves me in awe.
I’m sure I’ll continue to question and doubt the screen time at our house just like I do many of our parenting decisions.
Sheesh, being a parent is tough!
What’s your screen time policy? How much is too much? What kind of positives and negatives have you seen come out of using devices like smartphones and tablets?