Screen Time

Controversial I know. I have to be honest, I love my laptop, I love my phone, I love T.V. I think technology is amazing. The advances which have been made in it during my lifetime are incredible. I have seen the huge benefits of it within education and helping children to learn. I have also seen the incredible negative effect that it has on children.

Tablets are relatively new and it is hard to know the actual impact that one has on a child. There have been so many posts on facebook that I have read regarding it, likening using it to using cocaine. How much evidence there is behind it all, I really don’t know. I can only go on my own experiences as a Teacher and with my own children.

My children are 5 and 2 years old. Neither of them have a tablet and at this moment, we don’t intend on getting them one. Why? I don’t like the effect that screen time has on my children. They love television and enjoy watching so many different programmes. My daughter has learnt loads from Octonauts alone, but when it is switched off, she becomes incredibly angry and life for the next few hours is really not that pleasant. So we limit television time.

We don’t have it that the children are only allowed 30 minutes a day. They generally get to watch it once a week. It is usually a film that one of them has chosen. It becomes a lovely time where we can all sit and relax as a family.

As for tablets, they know what one is. They have seen our Ipads and phones, they know how to scroll through and they have become experts at using the features on facebook chat ever since lockdown started. But that is it. There are so many amazing apps that exist and I have a few of them downloaded on my phone, but I just don’t feel the need to use them just now. I feel that I can give my children much better learning experiences in person, rather than through an app.

Television and Tablets provide our children and us with instant gratification. What happens when that stops? I have been trying to use my phone less and less in front of my children. I put it away in the kitchen when I am playing with them, but I still feel the pull of it. Who has posted something new on facebook? Who has liked my photo on instagram? Do I have any new subscribers on youtube? If I feel like that, how do my children feel? What kind of effect is it having on them?

One day we will get the children a tablet and I am sure they will love it. My daughter starts school in August and I am sure she will see that many of her friends have tablets, which will more than likely prompt her to ask for one as well. I guess we will see how we deal with that at the time, but for now, my children’s lives are trying to remain as screen free as possible.

What do you think about tablets? Does your child have one? Does your child get angry when the television is switched off?

My videos on YouTube and posts on Instagram show how I engage my children in playing and learning without the use of tablets. From a professional point of view, I can judge that both my children are above where they should be for their age and none of it was achieved by using a tablet.

This video shows what I use with my children instead of screen time.

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