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    • We often have a lot of kids around our house. Really good kids with really good parents. Yesterday we were out front playing soccer, riding scooters and skateboards, shopping at the grocery store, jumping on the trampoline and playing dressup in a treehouse.

      And after hours of that, they wanted some iPad time. Hmmm..., I was thinking, I'm not sure your parents would like you spending time on screens. So we usually figure out something else to do.

      And yet, we adults love to talk about the Netflix series we're watching, we answer texts during dinner... I think most kids see their parents doing lots of screen time. I wonder what kids think of that. Is it something like driving where it's just assumed it's a thing that's okay once you grow up?

      Pic: Huffington Post

    • I think about it often. I have read articles that say screen time is all bad at certain ages and some that say they dont know. I am eager for the iOS 12 update so I can gauge how much use there is with certain apps on my childs devices.

      Typically I try to gauge their reaction to shuttoing off a device. If it is poor then it stays off for the rest of the day / next day etc. A general rule we also follow is no devices out side of the house. None in cars or other peoples homes etc.

      And like you said, if I am on the couch holding my phone I will let the kids on their devices. I will have to be the one to model a balance of usage. Being there is probably the best we can do.

    • I worry about this a lot. Our daughter is 1 and since she was about 2 or 3 months she has been constantly trying to grab our phones. They are shiny and interesting, but I think it is mostly because she sees us sitting on our phones. She just wants to experience what we are experiencing; when she does get ahold of a phone, she will throw a tantrum when we take it away, even though she isn't old enough to understand what it is yet.

      I'm less worried about screen time itself, as long as it is spent on something meaningful. I think when kids are old enough, it's important to teach them about the world they live in. At the same time, I'm worried that we are spending too much time getting sucked into devices ourselves, when we could be paying better attention.

    • at lunch the other day all the folks at the table across from us were on devices, I had to walk over and ask them to turn down the toddlers device as it was very loud. The parents looked like I asked to finger bang their cat. They were in shock, but then did turn it down. Not one word between the whole family during the meal. Wide scope of ages too. Amazing, yet devices are just the latest thing, there is always something that less involved parents do to avoid actually looking after their kids in public spaces.

    • Yes, and what a crazy sight to see a pack of kids with their heads all in to their devices. We are going to be a society of thumbs someday.

      I wonder about it yes but it is the future and we sure aren’t going back. I ask myself would I have put a chip in my child? Then I remember the day out backpacking when I turned around and my two young children were gone. They had training. They had whistles around their necks. Every ounce of protection that we know how to provide was given.

      I started running down the trail after them, around a corner, around another corner, around another corner. Then off comes my backpack and my speed increases faster and around more corners. Fear is gripping me to my core and around a corner I go. Running down the trail having the time of their lives laughing and running are my two very young children. All I could do was yell, STOP! At the top of my lungs. Brings a tear to my eye still today and the vision of that moment in my mind is clear.

      In many ways the security is a good enough trade off for me. The rest I believe will work it’s way out.

    • It's a great question. I think a lot has to do with age and maturity. Time spent staring at a screen (for whatever) purpose definitely has a downside and it can be very enticing and addicting. My feeling is that kids need parents to protect them while their brains and awareness of decisions and consequences are still developing. I don't give my kids unlimited access to candy for similar reasons. As they get older and better understand consequences and trade-offs, they can better learn how to self-regulate but ultimately I have to acknowledge that I can't plan on them handling screen time any more responsibly than I do myself. Our children learn what it means to be an adult from watching us.

      My husband is a doctor who has obese patients come in often with concerns about how to help their overweight child. They are very interested in their children eating more healthfully but are generally appalled at the suggestion that their own diet has any impact on the food situation at home. I think we're hitting the same mental roadblock when we look up from our phones only to tell our kids to go outside and play instead of sitting in front of a screen. If we're outside playing, they'll join us.

      One additional factor to muddy the waters: Sometimes what adults are doing on their phones isn't what kids imagine. Working from home or reading classical literature on a device look just the same as game playing or mindless scrolling social media. When my kids see me reading a paper book they generally grab one and join me. When they see me on my phone, they are more likely to beg to watch a video, etc.

      Box of Worms: Unfortunately I think so much of what we see as "adult" (alcohol, pornography, cursing, crude humor, unlimited device time, buying junk food, sex out of wedlock, etc.) that we tell our kids not to do when they are "too young" are actually just detrimental to society at any age. But setting it up as a "when you're grown up" activity adds to the allure.