FYI: This is the first in our series about kids and technology, and what is working to help parents get control of kids’ screen time. Stay tuned for more on this topic! (Or better yet sign up here to receive these newsletters in your inbox if you don’t already : )
What constitutes good guidelines, when thinking about kids and technology?
Can too much screen time hurt a child?
Can too little?
These are the kind of questions we’re going to explore over these next few weeks.
Starting with that top one: what are some good guidelines to have around screen time and your child?
We’re doing a deep dive this month on kids and technology, so I feel qualified to answer this question : )
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. We all need boredom in our lives.
Screens have an insidious way of preventing us from feeling bored. Because when ever that thought starts to spark in our minds, we can always distract ourselves with our favorite shows, apps, or games.
Provided we’re older than 20 or so, at some point in our lives we had to pay attention to what I think of as the “inner voice.”
It’s the voice of our creativity, the voice that can at times comfort us, and at other times slay us. When we’re bored, that’s one of the times when our inner voice can become a problem, especially if we allow it to steer us towards things we know are not good for us.
An entire jar of Nutella, for example, or five seasons of Friends in one night.
This is even more true of our children, who have not had a lifetime of listening to that inner voice, helping it cultivate our creativity, and resisting the call of the binge watching, or chocolate-hazelnut spread eating.
Simply put, the more opportunities we can give our kids to be bored, and to use their creative brainpower to figure out how to alleviate that boredom, the better.
This is how humankind has moved forward.
2. Less is more.
Some amount of screen time is absolutely fine! The question is: when does it become too much?
A lot sooner than we tend to think, according to the experts I have been learning from.
3. Don’t let technology interfere with human connection and bonding.
This is, as I see it, the biggest danger that we face.
This week on the podcast I speak with Matt Miles and Joe Clement, authors of a book called Screen Schooled, and they are seeing how technology interferes with human connection every single day, in the high school where they teach.
They see kids who cannot use the bathroom without putting in earbuds.
They see kids going silent, walking anonymously past each other in the halls and sitting in study and eating lunch, every person in their own individual world.
This is terrifying.
Audrey Monke, beloved WTOO guest and author of Happy Campers (a book for parents), has called loneliness our modern “epidemic.”
Do whatever you can to stop technology from interfering with human connection and bonding.
This can be as simple as rounding up all the devices and putting them on a high shelf, except for half an hour a day.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.
And everyone will benefit from spending non-screen time together.
What you think? Do you have questions or thoughts? Just hit reply to this newsletter and share!
Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/in the Ninja Parenting Community…
Thanks for reading!
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week,
What’s up on the podcast this week:
Talking with high school teachers who have seen a seismic shift in the development of their students – and not in a good way – because of the technology they are steeped in each and every day:
What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
Our most recent Live Members-Only Call, where we dove into how to get kids to listen, and stop playing ball upstairs when the rule is they can only play ball in the basement:
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