Why I Won't Ban Screen Time in My Houseby Emma Longden
A hot topic in parenting, which is sure to cause some disagreement, is the use of screens by children. I have always been quite a laid back parent, I don’t allow the children to do anything that will cause them harm, but I am also not the strictest when it comes to rules and regulations at home. I aim to get the children to eat a balanced diet, which means that alongside meals of turkey dinosaurs, chips and beans, they also enjoy homemade pizzas, fajitas and curries. I know that my parenting style might not be to everybody’s taste, but it works for me and my family, and I am confident that I am doing what is right for my children and myself.
It may, therefore, not come as much of a surprise that when it comes to screen time, I am pretty lenient. I know, I know, when we were children, it was a much simpler time. We didn’t have iPads, iPhones and access to a million channels, where we didn’t even need to wait for the adverts to finish before continuing to watch our favourite shows. Yes, we spent lots of time outside in the fresh air, we made our own amusement because we didn’t have the technology that kids these days have. But so what? We aren’t living in the same world anymore, as tech has advanced, so has life itself, in the modern world technology is more readily available, children do have access to gadgets that we could only have dreamed of.
I don’t think that is a bad thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that children should have an unlimited amount of time sat in front of screens. I still think it is important for them to get outside, to explore nature, to spend some time without a screen in their face and I encourage the children with the hobbies they have - drawing, reading and building lego. My husband and I regularly take the children out for mini-adventures, to the local beach or forest, and head out further afield at every opportunity, during the school holidays, for short breaks in the UK, to find new places to explore. However, we also encourage the children’s use of screen time. They love the games that they place using their devices, they can escape from whatever might be stressing them out for a bit, to fight the bad guys, or to train their brains with online puzzles. Our youngest can competently play on Minecraft on his dad’s iPad. He is four. His hand-eye coordination, since starting to play this, has improved massively. He tells us all about the worlds that he is creating, and I am not ashamed that he is doing all this at a young age. I think that he is going to be able to do incredible things when he grows up.
My daughter loves to draw and creates the most incredible pictures, using her imagination, but she also loves to sit and play games where she can create her very own ice creams, burgers and slushies using an app on a secondhand phone of mine she was given after an upgrade. My eldest has just turned ten and is revelling in his newfound independence by talking to his friends using a gaming headset and his Nintendo Switch. We allow screens, and don’t have set limits in place, but the children know that when we say they need to rest their eyes, to take a break from their devices, to listen to us. I think having a balance is the best of both worlds. No, it isn’t something everybody would agree with, but I am happy with the decision, and I think that the children are learning different varied skills, that I would never have had access to when I was a child, and that is pretty cool.