When I saw this onesie on Pinterest, it made me laugh! Recently I’ve been thinking about the role of screen time in kids' lives, so when I saw this picture I thought, "Well, at least they wouldn't be watching television!"
Yesterday, I read two articles about kids and screen time – time spent watching television, on the computer, using a cell phone or iPad, etc. – and have been thinking about how we’ll approach screen time use when we have a child. The first article described how common it is for very young children to spend time watching television and using electronic devices, often with apps designed and downloaded just for them. This is despite the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children under 2 years of age get absolutely no screen time.
The second article profiled a Waldorf school in Silicon Valley that uses no technology in its classrooms. Many tech executives send their children to the school specifically because it does not incorporate technology. I found it so interesting that many of the parents spend their days developing software but want to limit technology in their children’s lives. It’s a philosophy that I strongly agree with.
Limiting screen time will definitely be something that Chris and I want to do as parents one day but I’m not sure exactly how we’ll approach it. Screens are everywhere in our culture and we have several in our house!
The things about screen time and media that make me want to limit them for children include the amount of advertising directed at kids, the mature content and violence (even in “kids” media), the passive nature of most media (no interaction or thinking is required), and the fast-paced images of most television shows and video games, which seem like they could foster a short attention span.
Chris and I agree that we want to follow the guidelines of giving our kids no screen time at all until they are at least 2, maybe older. When we do start allowing screen time, I think it will be important that it’s an activity that we participate in with the child and that the amount of screen time is very limited. As they get older I might like to take the approach that my parents took with my sister and me growing up and only allow television/screen time on the weekends and for only a set amount of time.
I know that we won't be able to completely eliminate media in our children’s lives (unless they are raised by wolves of course!) and that’s not what my goal will be. What I hope is that we can create an environment in which screens are not the default choice for entertainment and media is consumed in healthy doses.