Screen Time Debate
March 21, 2013
In this day and age, computers, phones, T.V., tablets, iPods, etc are just a fact of life. Nearly all children over the age of 11 seem to have some kind of device, and kids are so comfortable with technology, it is just second nature to them. However, all this screen time has its drawbacks and raises many debates between childcare providers, parents, teachers, and many others. Where do you stand on this debate?
It has been recommended that children under 2 don’t watch any T.V., and that all kids don’t have more than 1 – 2 hours of screen time in any given day. Given the amount of time kids are sitting at school, often with a screen of some kind, that certainly doesn’t leave much time for them to veg out at home after school!! And if you have kids of multiple ages in your home daycare, keeping kids under 2 away from the T.V. that the other kids are watching can be very difficult. For us, the amount of T.V. or screen time depends, largely, on the day and the situation.
For me, it comes down to limits and education. Set some pretty hard and fast limits about the amount of screen time for your kids. Our limit is no more than 2 hours per day – and 90% of the time, they don’t get that much. Your limits need to work for you, but think about how you limit not only how much they are in front of the screen, but WHAT they are watching as well. Ensure the shows, games, videos, etc. are appropriate for all the kids in your care. We have discovered that Transformers gives our daughter nightmares, so she gets to play on the iPad in her room while our son watches his favorite show.
As kids get older, we need to arm them with education to use technology appropriately, at the same time as we arm them with the latest SMART phone. I know more than one teenager who has landed themselves in some SERIOUS hot water because of their flippant use of technology. Perhaps the best thing we can do for our kids is to talk to them about what they are seeing on the screens and, most importantly, when using Social Media (but that is a whole other topic!). Use it as a tool to open up dialogue about how we treat people, what is real and what is pretend, and how they feel/think about what they are seeing.
Whether you are a no-technology for kids, pro-technology for kids, or still sitting on the fence, do what works for you, but also be flexible. As with all things that have to do with kids, flexibility is the name of the game! And while you are at it, Like us on fb.me/dayhomeregistry and Follow us at http://twitter.com/dayhomeregistry.