Tips For Navigating Screens
The topic of screen time has been a confusing one for me.
On the one hand I’m no technophobe. I believe screens are an important part of our culture, and I predict them to be a huge part of my (unschooled) children’s education.
On the other hand, I wax nostalgic for the days when childhood was about catching frogs (and returning them gently and kindly to their natural habitat) and building forts. I get the heebie-jeebies seeing kids zombied out to sponge-bob-stupidity when the great outdoors await.
Tips For Screen Time That Resonate With Me
- Look at your child’s temperament
Some kids react worse to a “forbidden fruit” (making them want it even more), and some do better when it’s just off the table completely. See how your child thinks about screen. If they’re very into them they may need to know there’s a consistent time/ place where they can get their fill.
- Let other things take priority
If the TV is always on in the background, if the password to the tablet is free for all, if your phone is always lying around, then perhaps screens will inevitably distract from other possibilities. Instead bring them out deliberately for the times you’ve decided are screen times, and make other activities more available and exciting the rest of the day.
- Vet the content
What matters most when it comes to screens, not all shows or games are created equal. Whilst I don’t think any are detrimental, I do think it’s really worth it to chose high quality shows without violence or too much movement, as these things have been shown to reduce focus.
- Stay fluid and in touch
Notice how the screen is effecting your kids. Watch with them. Connect to the content together, and be there to process the values they’re being exposed to together. If your kid is using the screen to escape their feelings, try to hold them in a space where they become in-touch internally, rather than running away to a show to numb themselves.
- Model unplugging
Perhaps most important of all, and most difficult. Unplug yourself and go make eye contact!How do screens work in your home? What are your tips?