It has become more difficult to engage our children in meaningful conversation when they are in the presence of their favorite TV show, on the DS, or playing on the computer. All three of my children are huge technology fans. Without my assistance, my 4 year-old can scroll successfully on my iPhone and find the game she wants to play or watch a previously recorded video.
For as long as I can remember, it has been a challenge negotiating screen time with my children. How much is too much? How much is not enough? Aren’t some video games educational? Don’t they need to learn how to use computer programs and learn to type for school assignments and for life in general?
After all, as opposed to when we were children, all school assignments are expected to be done using the computer, email and researching on the Internet.
How is all this screen time affecting our children’s ability to learn appropriate social skills like actively listening when others are talking, making eye contact, and merely being in the right headspace to have meaningful conversations?
Although various forms of technology provide educational opportunities for our children, we must offer them a good balance. We need to ensure that we provide significant boundaries so that they are not staring at screens all day, but instead are interacting with their friends, siblings and others around them.
In our home, we have successfully managed several strategies to implement screen time where we are all satisfied….most of the time. None of these strategies are perfect and each pose some challenges on occasion.
Screen Time Strategies:
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