Screen time can be something of a touchy subject. We are bombarded by stories in the media about how our children are spending less time outside than the average prisoner. Television, tablets and computer games are constantly being vilified and branded the root of all evil, accusing parents of abusing these electronic babysitters and rotting our children’s brains. As with everything in parenting, perhaps it is not quite that’s black and white.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to your child and their screen time.
1. Children should play as much as possible.
I completely agree that children should engage in as much play as possible. Get down on the floor and play with them, get them outside and play with them. Create with your children, let them do drawing and art and messy play. Give your children as many experiences as you can. But wait, what happens when you as a parent, need to get something done? Travel somewhere? All of this frolicking and art work needs space and intense supervision. It is not practical for your children to engage in these “quality” activities 100% of the time they are awake. So what’s the answer?
2. It’s about balance.
Fruit is good for you, but you can’t eat fruit and nothing else. Chocolate is “bad” for you, but having some every one and again won’t cause any serious harm. It’s the same with screen time. In moderation, it can be an absolute life saver for fraught parents and a treat for your children. Try to save the screen time for when you really “need” it. Prime examples of when I have “needed” it most would be when I was heavily pregnant, very unwell and constantly sent in to hospital for monitoring with an only just 2 year old in tow. She was bored and anxious and just didn’t want to be there. Yes, sticker books helped too, but Peppa Pig truly saved the day. We have all been in those situations when we don’t have an option, the children must be entertained and screen time is a portable, clean solution that can be enjoyed in confined spaces.
3. ICT is a very real part of our children’s future.
Schools are now having to integrate the use of computers and tablets in all subject areas. By giving your child access to the “right” kind of screen time, you can help them prepare for the technological world in which they will grow up in. Think about the sort of computer that you had access to while growing up compared to what we have in our homes now. It makes my head hurt to think of the technological advances that will be made by the time our children are adults. Whether we like it or not, technology will be a huge part of their lives. Perhaps moderated access to devices is a good preparation for as they grow up and their eduction and jobs become more and more tech focused.
4. What you choose to protect them from is so important
It seems that while most parents would never consider allowing their child to watch a 15 or 18 rated film, many parents purchase 12, 15 or even 18 rated games for their children. Games such as “Grand Theft Auto”, which is one of the 18 rated games, contain nudity, dismemberment, sexual activity, drugs, alcohol, prostitution and bad language. I think that the majority of parents can all acknowledge that if your child’s screen time is comprised of hugely age inappropriate gaming, it is not going to be very good for them.
5. Technology can help your children lean those things that they would otherwise struggle with.
Games can turn things that are usually very dry and boring, such as learning spellings or tables, into fun and colourful games that your children will actually want to play. By adding in the use of a stylus crayon to navigate the apps, children are given an additional opportunity to practice pen control which will help to improve their hand writing. Get your stylus crayons here.
There are fantastic apps available to help your child with phonics and literacy, numeracy. Check out the Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App review and walkthrough video below. This is a prime example of an excellent app that will make good use of your child’s screen time. Download the app here.
When they get older, utilising curriculum specific apps can be a great way to help your teens revise for their exams. Look out for tomorrow’s post with my recommendations for great educational apps.
So like everything in parenting, and in life, a little screen time is not necessarily a “bad” thing for your children. It’s all about moderation, making sure that you are filling their devices with age appropriate content and fantastic educational apps that will help to develop their learning.
What do you think about children using tablets?
This blog post was written as part of #BLOGTOBER17 . Each day there is a specific prompt laid out on the Hex Mum Blog and bloggers all over the world are writing their own particular take on the subject. Today is #DAY21 and the prompt is #VILLIANSANDSUPERHEROES