Screen time in technology-driven world...

I’m intimidated and amazed by parents that don’t allow their children any screen time in this day and age. My family lives thousands of miles away, and I videochat them daily. It helps us stay connected with them and eases the loneliness of being a SAHM in an unfamiliar place. Additionally, I didn’t graduate high school too long ago, and we used technology by way of laptops, projectors, smart TVs, and more, in nearly every class daily. I’d be surprised if by the time my son is looking for a job, it’d be possible to land one without technological proficiency. My point is, I understand the point of limiting and monitoring by age, but are there really benefits to being completely cut off from it based on the world we live in now? Is there a point where I can stop feeling intense guilt every time my son glances toward a screen?

  • Anon
    Oct 18, 2018

    I let my baby watch tv. Some say probably way too much. But I can’t freaking help it, cause the tv helps with me being able to do things! I let him watch BabyFirst channel only. It’s got short shows and is in constant repeat, so I’ve actually memorized all the lines and songs :p My baby loves the iPhone and is always grabbing for it, but I’ve never actually let him play with apps (not that he knows how). I try not to use it in front of him, except when I’m putting in info for his feeds, and showing him videos/pictures of himself.

  • Lulu
    Oct 18, 2018

    I let my lo watch tv. Do I feel guilty? Yes. Mom guilt is real. Is my child quiet on car trips now, which she hates? Yes! No near wrecks for me! Am I able to cook dinner and clean? Yes! But do I still interact with my child, hold her, respond to her needs, play with her? Also yes. Everything in moderation!

  • JJ
    Oct 18, 2018

    Sure, my kid's watch PBS and kid friendly movies (and "This Is Us" because I am never left alone when I want to watch that)... but none of them have or use cell phones, tablets, internet access, etc... It is my feeling that they will deal with enough technology in school and in the real world, and I want them to know what it is to play and actually entertain themselves without having a device attached to them. I want them to be outside as much as humanly possible. I want them to love reading actual books. I want them to know how to actually interact with other humans. And the reason I feel like this is because I was an only child with two parents who worked non-stop and I was always parked in front of a TV all the time. I live very far away from my family too now. We speak to my mom about once a week on speaker phone. (She hasn't been able to figure out FaceTime or Skype). Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad about or guilty for how you raise your children if your kids are safe, happy, and healthy. Everyone is different and are entitled to raise their kids however the hell they see fit to. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all did exactly the same thing.

  • Anonymous
    Oct 18, 2018

    The concern with screen time and young children is that they aren’t getting the human to human interaction they need to develop social and communication skills. Kids listen and watch for verbal and physical cues when in discussion (words, facial expression and hand gestures). So with that, I read an article where it said certain type of screen exposure is ok for young kids - like FaceTiming. And if you are exposing your kids to try to pick out interactive ones where you can sit down and watch with them, and interact as well. Same with using a cell phone while with your child - they could be trying to get your attention but you may be so absorbed in your phone that you aren’t responding to them. But like others said - everything in moderation. I’m not one of those moms that managed to keep my child away from screens.. far from it. We had the tv on all day up until my son started to really pay attention which happened maybe around a year old. Then I started to control how long the tv was on and what we watched. Another mom told me the news was ok to watch since they would be watching an actual human being talk. Our pediatrician advised us not to let our son use the screen for more than an hour but let’s be honest... as a SAHM I need more than an hour to take care of myself, the house and just a mental break. Nap time doesn’t count either because I needed to nap too! Lol or clean up the mess that happened a few minutes before nap started.. As long as your son is reaching their physical, social and language comprehension milestones then I wouldn’t worry or feel guilty. Language production on the other hand is hard... kids will talk when they are ready. You can’t really use the argument that kids will need to be exposed to technology because of the world today... they will get plenty of practice and technology education even in elementary school with computer lab time - where they play typing games and play with the art tools on there. They have plenty of time to get caught up with technology.

  • Damon
    Oct 19, 2018

    It all really depends on the appropriateness of what it's being used for and the physiological abilities of children as they develop. When an adult watches a TV show, we see motion, but what is actually happening is a series of still images changing at 24 frames per second is flashing on the screen. Our brains take those still images and interprets the fast changes into motion, filling in the gaps with best guesses to make it seem smooth. Infants and very young children brains cannot do that yet. So they will see a series of still images flashing at 24 frames per second, which is basically just a super fast strobe light blasting them with garbled colors while they listen to disembodied voices saying things they cannot understand and have no visual clues to gain understanding from. The concern is as others have said, less face to face interaction, but it has been shown to also correlate to hippocampus development issues, affecting memory. Babies constantly want to interact with people, face to face. That doesn't mean that there aren't amazing apps that help with color and shape recognition, and problem solving skills, and creative expression that might not even be possible in the real world... But on the other hand sitting and being a non participating observer of a show provides no feedback or interaction. Worse if a device is being used by an adult around the child, especially if they want attention, is teaching them that the device is very important and something to want. Eventually if it's done too much, the child learns that asking for attention takes too long, but hitting you in the head with spaghetti or kicking over a lamp elicits immediate attention and alleviates frustration they have no coping skills to handle. The light generated by most screen devices is also heavy on the blue side of the spectrum, which can affect melatonin levels in the evening, negatively affecting sleep. My wife and I are far from perfect, but we try our best, and boil it down to a few simple rules. No screens for either me or my wife at meals, my son can watch a show at lunch only on his iPad. If we need to respond to a text or email, we leave the room to do it, and call each other out if we see it happening in front of him. We try to limit his screen time and if he's using a device on his own he must be playing an educational game of some kind, no shows alone. If he's watching a show, one of us watches with him and we talk with him about what is happening. Lately he's started asking me every morning to check the weather with him on my phone, which I find pretty cool. Face time Grammy? Almost everyday. For us the point is the interaction. We ask ourselves, is my son getting interaction or feedback from what he is doing right now? There's no concrete "yes it's good" "no it's bad", it's a decision everytime. And at some point they get old enough that they can sit and intelligently watch a show on their own, and think about what is going on.