Screen Time Needs Limits

Although my dad passed away several years ago, I still keep in touch with his former housemate, Kenny. For over a decade they lived the bachelor-life in a duplex with Kenny living  on the main floor and my dad living upstairs. Although we’re not in the same state, I still keep in touch with Kenny and am sure to visit him every time we head to Buffalo. Recently we were on the phone and he was sharing all of the updates about his toddler-age grandson when he mentioned a concern that made my Spidey senses go up. He said he was worried about “these phones and things” and I couldn’t echo his sentiments loud enough. I was compelled to dig out this article I wrote back in 2016 to confirm his hunch. Sadly, with the rise of COVID, our tech tools have become an even more essential part of children’s everyday lives meaning there is even more reason parents need to teach children balance and to put their devices away.

Everywhere I look I see screens used to keep children occupied, and it’s driving me crazy! It was bad enough, seeing parents use devices to keep their child entertained when going for a walk or when waiting in line, but now corporations have caught onto our attachment to these devices, and they are happy to fill in the gap. When dining at a chain bar and grill, I was disheartened to see a device sitting on our table, where you can pay $1.99 to entertain yourself (or your child) while you wait for your meal. Even the rental strollers at the mall come equipped with built-in devices to ensure children have non-stop digital feed going directly to their brains. 

Sadly, many parents do not understand the extreme damage this is doing to children of all ages.  As mentioned in the New York Post’s article, “It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies,” kids are easily addicted to screens, and when they don’t have them, the behaviors ensue. I frequently swap stories with fellow educators who are equally terrified by the patterns of behavior they are witnessing in their elementary schools, particular in the early grades. Managing extreme temper tantrums, that require the entire class to be removed while one child single-handedly destroys the classroom, are becoming commonplace for the average 1st grade teacher. As the generation of children who are being raised with screens in front of their eyes since the age of BIRTH continues to grow, this crisis will steadily escalate.  

To make matters worse, our educational system has bought into the screen frenzy, hook, line and sinker. Time Magazine’s Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax, states technology in schools actually “leads to worse educational outcomes” and mentions that hundreds of studies show increased screen time correlates “to increased ADHD, screen addiction, increased aggression, depression, anxiety and even psychosis.” This is FRIGHTENING when you consider an entire generation of children are actually addicted to these machines!  

There is little parents can do to eliminate screens in school, but once they get home, parents have total control. Just like junk food, children need to learn how to use them in moderation. The solution is simple…. set a timer, then put it away.

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