Saturday, April 14, 2012
Limiting Screen Time
The fact is...we live in an age of technology. When most of us were growing up, we didn't have computers or cell phones. We did have televisions and I'm sure a lot of us spent our fair share of time watching Gilligan's Island, Star Trek, The Brady Bunch and (_________ fill in the blank of your favorite childhood television show). But we only had five channels. Eventually we got bored of watching TV and found something else to occupy our time.
Do you remember spending all day playing Monopoly? Creating a tiny city for your matchbox cars? Sleeping outside on the trampoline? The Slip 'N Slide? I could go on and on. The point is, we spent a lot less time in front of screens and we found other ways to entertain ourselves.
So why is it so hard to limit screen time today? I had this conversation with my children and my son said "That's because you didn't have all this cool stuff when you were a kid." And you know what? He's right! Video games finally appeared when I was a teenager, but I had to pay a quarter every time I played. It didn't take long to run out of money and then my friends and I left the video arcade and played basketball. But I'm sure if I had unlimited access I would have been like a gambling addict in Vegas. I probably would have never seen the light of day.
Just because our kids have unlimited access doesn't make it right. Or does it? I'm really not sure on this topic. Even though I would prefer that my kids spent less time with technology, they have well rounded lives. My kids both participate in sports at school. They both get straight A's. They have good friends. So why am I so worried about their screen time? Is it just "The Good Old Days" complex?
I've tried having "screen free" weeks in the past and those were the most miserable weeks of my life! I didn't get anything done, my kids were grumpy and expected me to entertain them. They fought with each other more and we all started getting on each other's nerves. I know you would like to hear a motivational success story, but it just didn't happen for me. Maybe that is because we are all screen addicts and those are the symptoms of withdrawal.
The truth is...I don't have the answer on this one. Maybe somebody else can provide some ideas for me or a success story. I'll be staring at my computer screen waiting to read all about it. :-)