There is much debate lately on how much screen time you should allow your children. With the influx of iPhones and iPad’s into our homes, technology is creeping into everything we do as adults and in our families.
According to the Raising Children Network, screen time is any time spent watching TV, being at computers, video games, iPads and iPhones and other computer devices. For children aged 2 and younger, screen time is not really recommended. Ages 2-5 it is suggested they have only 1 hour a day and when aged 6 and over it is suggested that kids should have specific limits placed by parents.
I, like I am sure most parents, monitor the kids and what they are doing on a regular basis. My kids are just starting to get interested in iPhone and iPads – they are starting to ask for it on a regular basis. They have a few hours of iPad time a week – usually on the weekends. But the TV is on ALL THE TIME!
My kids are up early, and the TV is on, get in from school and the TV goes on, plus about another hour or so before bedtime. If I was really honest I would say my kids watch 2-3 hours of TV per day during the week and a lot more on weekends. It is a habit that I am slowly trying to break so that when they get older and the homework starts coming, they are not so shocked by the lack of TV in their little lives.
But breaking the habit is hard. The New York Post has written an article outlining the effects digital screens have on our kids, calling it Digital Heroin or Electronic Cocaine. This of course is the extreme, but it does certainly happen here in Australia – and more often that you think.
With the rising costs of weekend sports and the lack of time that working mothers have, often the screens become a welcome babysitter for a few hours, so that we can get things done. For some, going out for a family meal often means taking the iPads for the kids to use so mum and dad can enjoy their meal. Screens can often be used on long drives, replacing games of eye spy and for many screens are used as a school requirement – for homework or other educational games or activities.
With screens on the increase in our homes and in our schools, what do you do to keep a healthy balance in your home?