We use screens a lot in our lives, and in our homeschool. We embrace technology and we love gadgets. What did I do before iPhones, Google, and Facebook? That been said, I still have concerns about too much screen time for my boys.
Here, screen time is broken into 4 main areas.
- Free Time. This is electronic gadgets including DS, Wii, Xbox, and PC games. Minecraft is the current favourite. I allow about 4 hours a week, usually in 2 x 2 hour blocks. Boys ‘earn’ their Free Time by doing their chores, and it’s the first thing I take away if they have been naughty. IrishKing loses it a lot, usually resulting in him saying, ‘I don’t like Free Time anyway!‘
- Movies. We watch a family movie a week. This doesn’t alway happen, some weeks we end up not having time, and other weeks we could watch 3 movies, usually when the weather is bad, someone is sick, or we are just in a movie mood.
- School Work. We use some free online school resources. Khan Academy, Alcumus, and Scratch come to mind. We watch DVD’s from The Great Courses, episodes of kids shows in French, and a few other ‘school’ things. Boys also use their laptops for Word, and doing online courses like Coursera.
- iPad. IrishDoom and IrishKing like a few educational games on the iPad. I don’t count these as Free Time. They don’t do as much as they would like, maybe 1 hour a week. We also use iPads for some kindle books.
Now to my point; from edutopia, Screen Time Diet For Kids
Dr. Brown spoke about the findings of the study, which found that kids spending too much time in front of screens, even for interactive media, were more likely to suffer from obesity, aggression, and deficiencies in socialization. Her words are a wake up call to all of us looking to technology as a magic elixir for reaching children. Her data suggest that the screen time diet should be administered after two hours of total screen time in any one day.
Even with our limits on Free Time, my boys would easily exceed 2 hours a day of screen time. Are they doomed? I don’t think so. But I think there is no harm in limiting Free Time, to give kids time in the day to smell the roses, read, play board games, do chores, and do nothing. We really like doing nothing!
What do you think about limiting screen time? Do you limit it, or don’t you see any harm in it?