Friday, February 27, 2015

The Benefits of Screen Time

Screen time has gotten seriously out of hand in this house. It seem like all the kids ever do. Until three years ago all we had was an original Playstaion, a Nintendo 64 and satellite TV. The kids got bored of those quite quickly and found other things to do with their time.

Christmas 2011 we got a Nintendo Wii. Since it was shared they still did not overdo screen time.

Christmas 2012 we got a computer and internet for the first. Even though it was new and exciting 7 of us were sharing one device so screen time remained manageable.

Christmas 2013 we got a 3DS, a Kindle Fire and a Samsung kids tablet. This is when things started to get out of hand because most of the kids could be on a device at any given time.

In October 2014 my son got an ipod Touch and it is all he does every day since. He recently bought a Kindle Fire of his own and it got even worse even though I didn't see this as even possible. The other kids have followed his lead and spend most of their time on screens. It doesn't help that a few days ago I downloaded the new You Tube Kids app. It is amazing and the little girls think so too.

I am about to do something rash and start implementing a weekly screen time allowance. It is one hour per year of age for the week. Sunday is a screen free day. I even made a handy dandy chart to monitor and record screen time for each child. I am starting this on Monday. They will do the tracking and use their time any way they please, weather that means spreading it out throughout the week, or using it all up in a day o two, that will be their issue to figure out. I figure it will teach them self control and time management.

I know this will be hard, mostly on me, but it is something that needs doing. It is very hard for me to take this step because growing up there were no limits, but I remember choosing other activities most of the time. I never overdid screen time.

This weekend is a screen time indulgence, feast before the famine if you will, so for the time being I am going to enjoy the many benefits of screen time.

-No fighting. Everyone is so immersed in their content, they are oblivious to what is going on around them. They are in their own little world.

-Teamwork. The boys play Minecraft on multiplayer. They get along swimmingly. This is the only thing they do together without fighting.

-No one asks for food. If I didn't call them to eat I don't think they would eat all day.

-No messes. The house is as clean at bedtime as it was when they woke up. No random messes for me to find.

-They stay out of trouble. They don't find naughty things to do when they are occupied by a screen.

-Blissful silence. If they use headphones it is as quiet around here as if no one else was home.

              See! Who says screen time doesn't have benefits? 
                              It does! At least for the parents!