Now that we’ve given a basic framing for the concept I will delve into the chart a little more deeply.
While this chart cannot and will not provide PERFECT guide to the how and when of “screen time”, it will give you an idea of HOW to view the screen time your children are engaging in.
Electronics are neither good nor bad, they are TOOLS. The issue comes in the use of the tool, not the very existence of the tool.
There is a lecture I give the kids on a regular basis that involves understanding the nature of any given object or behavior in which I explain that most things are neutral until they are used or acted upon.
Let’s take a milkshake for example, a milkshake is an absolutely DELICIOUS source of calories that can be a fantastic treat at the end of a hard week. Where the neutrality falls apart is in the details.
A milkshake can be a wonderful thing provided you aren’t diabetic, lactose intolerant, 6 months old, or consuming them on a daily basis. This shows that the devil will definitely be in the details.
Now, what is a milkshake? It is a type of food. So let’s equate it to a facet of screen time/electronics. Maybe the milkshake is a video game. It’s great for a Friday night, when shared with friends, after all other work is done and as a unique treat.
But what if the milkshake (video game) is consumed daily, multiple times a day, alone, and instead of eating actual food?
Well obviously now we have a problem.
What could we do to ameliorate this issue?
First, we could eat less milkshakes (less video game time). We could set a rule that if we’re going to have a milkshake it needs to be with friends. This takes the activity from only being an “E” to now having the added social component and moving it to the “ES” section of the diagram. We could also add the limitation that the proverbial milkshake can only be consumed after X number of tasks, obligations, responsibilities have been met.
This would then make the indulgence a little more guilt free and much less detrimental to the development of the child.
And after all this milkshake talk I’m going to go to Chick-fil-A and indulge…