Nellie at The New York Times just wrote about screen consultants who are helping parents teach their kids how to not look at a screen. Here are some, uh, choice quotes:
“I try to really meet the parents where they are, and now often it is very simple: ‘Do you have a plain old piece of material that can be used as a cape?’” said Ms. Moskowitz. “‘Great!’”
“‘Is there a ball somewhere? Throw the ball,’” she said. “‘Kick the ball.’”
How much do you need to pay someone to tell you to throw a ball?
“I tell a lot of parents to get a dog,” Mr. Halpern said. “Or I say, ‘Show a screen to your cat.’ They don’t care. They’re fully present. They’re living. That’s a great role model.”
Why do you need to pay someone $80-$250/hr to tell you to get a dog? Also cats may not be the best role models for your children. Just try to get them to take a bath.
In all seriousness, I keep hearing about the concern over screen time. I’m more keen to how screens affect children ever since my niece came into the world. But you can’t put the genie back in the bottle — take away Fortnite from a child, and they lose their primary communication channel with friends.
(Yes, I believe Fortnite is a social network, don’t @ me.)
I believe parents need to take a balanced approach — remove screens during family time, show them as little as possible when children are young (especially 0-5 years old) and give them limits on screen time. But if you take them away completely (and the apps that comprise them), you risk alienating them from their social groups.
Find ways to help them remain social when they’ve hit their screen limits. And remember, a 13-year-old is different in their development cycle than a 3-year-old. Use your best judgement.
Feel free to Venmo me $150 for this consultation.