It seems that parents hear hand held or electronic and bells and whistles go off. It is the wave of the future and in all reality will spend a larger portion of their day on a device of some kind. Here is my problem, how can I as a parent who does product reviews, surveys, maintain blogs, help one preach about screen time? Each one of us is on the computer right now reading, blogging, responding. In my house actions speak louder than words.
I own a smartphone, tablet, e-reader, laptop, desktop and we have an additional desktop and laptop for family use and they have their game consoles. We also have televisions. I am not made of money so downloading a book to read on the Kobo is great for me and when we are out what could be easier than grabbing the reader and letting them read. Just because a child is holding an electronic device does not mean they are playing a game. That is what drives me insane about articles like this. We have a lots of games that we play together. Tell me what is the difference between playing a board game with your child and playing a game of Mario Cart or a Wii fitness game? The Wii fitness games get you and them off the couch and exercising. All of the Let’s Dance games get the whole family dancing and singing for hours. And playing games and losing teaches them to try again and again and again. At first there may be a hissy fit and even a tantrum but when they succeed it is an incredible moment. They persevered and triumphed. You would be hard pressed to find something else that will inspire them to keep trying over and over.
My entire family have been Pokemon addicts since the day Ash and Pikachu showed up on television. These games are fun, non violent, develop memory skill, hand eye coordination, patience, cooperation (we play 1 vs 1), consideration (trading a Pokemon to gain rewards for one or both players) and problem solving. The Pokemon are so darn cute too. We had debates all the time on our favourite character and whose Pokemon can kick whose butt. You would need to look far and wide to find a single game that stimulates a family more IMHO.
To me it’s not so much about the screen time as it is about what’s on the screen that really matters. I have no issue with my family playing a handheld game. They are active but they also get time on their electronics.
Back in the day we could go outside at 8 am play with a ton of kids and then be home when the lights came on, later when it was summer. Now I would never think of letting a 4 year old out in the backyard to play alone or a 7 year old to go play on the street like we did or even go to a neighbours.
I think what I am saying is not all electronic interaction is bad. Don’t assume a child is playing a on a device and even if they are, so what. There are a lot of great fun and educational apps and games out there. My 4 year old is fully adept on my smartphone, tablet, and e -reader. They learn so quickly and these are skills they are going to need in the future like it or not.
They use computers in school as early as kindergarten it’s a fact of life and we use them every single day or many of us do anyway. I practice what I preach so in my household I think it’s okay and not just on rainy days.