So the other day I decided to take the kids to the library. It’s my first time visiting this particular library so wanted to check out their children section
What I saw left me wondering and frankly quite shocked 😲
As soon as we got in to the children section I saw some tables with bits on them for the kids to draw or do some craft at. I thought it looked really nice so I was just about to take Kim’s hands when I saw she had run off. Where ? Well in the middle of all these books and cosy corners she’d managed to find a big table screen with the bolibompa app… Mindless pressing of buttons to change colours or shapes
I couldn’t believe something like this would exist in the library. I came here to get away from the screens that we are exposed to on a daily basis and instead it was here right in front of me….. in a LIBRARY…. the haven for books???
I had a discussion with the librarian who worked there. The idea is that “all children should be allowed access to screens”…. Huh? What kind of argument is that? Now, the librarian did not agree with this huge tablet either. She did not think that screens belonged in a library but it’s a decision of the council.
Since then I have visited the children’s section a couple of more times and once there was a lock on the tablet. OK, this was fine as the parents can then decide whether they want their children to use it or not.
However, I have also met other librarians and they don’t all share the same opinion. Some don’t see it being a problem at all and actually get quite surprised if I ask them to put the lock on the tablet.
It’s proven that children who use tablets, smart phones etc has a limited thinking ability. Now, if it’s whether the screens are dumbing our children or whether it’s “dumber” children who seeking screens is yet to be proven. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-does-screen-time-affect-kids-brains
Children at the are of 2 showed impact on their development. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/28/study-links-high-levels-of-screen-time-to-slower-child-development
The point is whenever your child is using the phone or tablet to watch a YouTube video or press buttons on an app it takes “creative” time from them when they could do something else.
Clearly , there is more research that needs to be done about how much and what the screens are being used for. However I will assume that it’s the screens which affects the development rather than the opposite until proven otherwise.
I am not an anti-screen freak even if it sounds like it. I remember that I gave my eldest the tablet when we were potty training. That’s also when I realised how bad it was. Not just the screen itself but that she was able to click around on youtube, managing to find all kinds of junk videos aimed to “brainwash” kids. It was also an issue every time we took away the tablet as she used to cry for 10 minutes until she forgot about it. So, it was decided, no more tablets
Don’t get me wrong, I am a mother of two and know the stress of trying to be super mum. It’s not always possible so you have to give in. There are a few things that can be done to limit screen time and still have an ease of mind.
- Turn off internet/or put on airplane mode every time your child wants the phone. With limited things to do on the phone they will slowly lose interest
- Have one child app only. Either a puzzle or drawing program (depending on interest). I have Peppa pig’s drawing app on the tablet (quite fun actually). Avoid anything that has sound or a lot of moving objects they need to press or similar. Of course nothing requiring internet
- Allow one adult section where your child is allowed to use. Gallery is an easy one. Showing pictures of themselves which (little narcissists as they are) they enjoy
- Any videos (you approve of and if possible) cast to the TV and SIT with them. In this way, it’s a social thing and you can explain things that are happening.
- Try to stick with a series rather than a full length movie as it won’t be as long. Tell them in advance how many episodes they can watch so you don’t have to take the fight later. (but always be prepared for a potential fight anyway)
- Most important thing of all…. BE CONSISTENT! Try to find a routine or a time when you allow your child some screen time.
At home we don’t have arguments regarding phone or tv as she knows what the rules are. She is allowed one episode of “approved” cartoon show in the evening while I’m putting Kay to sleep. This has now become a nice routine as she gets her milk or Välling as we call it in Swedish (recipe easy home made nutritious milk to come) and we have some family “chill down” time.
And of course, once they are finally asleep the grownups can have as much screentime as possible. Ha Ha
But all in all I would really like to know what you have faced. What experiences do you have with screens with your kids (good or bad), do you know research that leans more towards one side or the other? Share please 🙂