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How Do You Handle Screen Time?

Sometimes I yearn for the good ol’ days of Saturday morning cartoons and the Sunday night Disney movie.  I wish my kids could have had those kinds of memories . . . but alas, those days are long gone!I

In our ‘modern’ age, our kids now have access every single hour or every single day to every cartoon known to man as well as whatever else their little heart’s desire … all at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse. It’s a barrage on nonstop entertainment, information, and social ‘noise’ that we never seem to be able to get away from. So how do we as parents handle this?  How do we temper it so that our kids don’t end up looking back on their own childhoods and only remembering the devices they used to have and the virtual worlds they ‘existed’ in? 

I admit it . . . I’ve been guilty on more than one occasion of using the good old “TV babysitter” when the kids were little and I wanted to get something done.  Letting them watch just one more episode of Blues Clues or Scooby Doo (yes my kids are that old!!) so I could get dinner made, a little cleaning done or just  some PEACE while I chatted to a friend on the phone (pre texting days).

Children these days are so tech savvy its insane. We have a little one in our life who is only 18mos old and gets really excited at the site of an iPhone , pointing and shouting “pease, pease, pease” in order to get her tiny hands on our device. Once she gets it she knows EXACTLY what to do! A quick click on the photo or utube icon and she scrolls down to find the wiggles and CLICK -  she’s watching!!! She even scrolls through during the episode to find something better (tiny channel surfing).  God forbid a text or email message comes in while she’s viewing!   Immediately an annoyed look crosses her sweet little face, then a quick up-swipe and the offensive show blocker is gone from the screen. Its crazy!!! Nobody had to show her how to do all of this…………….how can she maneuver my phone so well while I can’t figure out how to log into my email after my phone gets a new update!!!??? I just don’t GET IT.

For those of us with kids that are a bit older …… what about fortnight???? We now have an entire army of preteen and even twenty something’s spending hours zoned out of family life, glued to the screen. I’ve even found that they often prefer to engage with their friends in this way rather than in person. “Why don’t you invite a friend over to play buddy?” “No thanks Mom I’ve been with my friends all day!”  Ummmmm…… ok but I’m not sure that talking to them via your headset and playing squad mode on fortnight constitutes social interaction. Or ….does it??

I worry that with all this face to face disconnection we’re going to end up with adults that don’t know how to socially interact. Yup . . . just awesome ……….. another thing to worry about as a parent!!!  Because you know . . . apparently we didn’t have enough to worry about in the first place!

So we’re interested.  Interested to know how your family handles screen time.  Do you control it?  Have you adopted a laid back approach?  Or have you come up with a system that the kids and adults are both cool with that works for your family?

Share your thoughts and ideas with us below!

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