Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Our family's thoughts on screen time.

I have a lot of thoughts on children and screens, mainly that they are on them too much, but it's an important topic and I wanted to talk about it. While I am not a big advocate of screen time, we do use it sparingly. We don't have to travel super far thankfully, but we travel somewhat frequently to visit family with several hours in the car, and the iPad has been a good distraction when she's sick of sitting in her carseat.

It's obviously up to each family to decide how much screen time your children have and what content they are viewing, but we have chosen as a family to limit it and to be very mindful of what Norah is watching. Kley and I have had several discussions on being careful of what we are personally listening to or watching when Norah is in ear shot. Not that we watch terrible things, but Norah is absorbing so much and copying/repeating a lot.

We really want the things Norah is seeing and hearing to be God honoring, age appropriate, and (mostly) educational. We are not perfect at that, but that is our goal. 

Here are some questions I think are beneficial to ask in regards to screen time:

1. What am I personally using as screen time in front of Norah? I do use my phone in front of her, but I try to make it purposeful when we are together (like looking up directions, a recipe, calling family/friends, etc.). When I do have to respond to an email or something in front of her, I try to explain what I am doing and why. I (make a good effort to) save the Instagram or FB checking for when she is sleeping.

2. Why am I letting Norah have screen time? Is it for a good purpose? Am I just being selfish or lazy and wanting a break? Am I giving in to her begging for it? I think this is an important question to think about.

3. What are we letting her view? Is it God honoring? Not that it has to be specifically Christian all the time, but is it appropriate? Is it good for her age level? Is it educational?

We mainly use screen time for when we are traveling in the car (on a long trip, not just around town). We use the iPad when we are at home very sparingly, because I think other things are more important and more valuable than screens, like reading books, playing outside, making a craft, pretend play, manipulative play (such as age appropriate educational toys, like practicing lacing cards to work on fine motor skills, for example), etc. The few times we use it at home are when Norah is sick or on those occasional days where everyone is grumpy and we both need a short break so I don't react in frustration/anger.

Screens are powerful. Norah knows how to operate our phones and the iPad without us spending time teaching her. She learned from watching. While Norah doesn't have screen time often, when she sees it she wants it, and when it's time to be done with it she has a hard time putting it away. There is something about screens that draw you in and keep you there. I don't want Norah, or Kley or myself, to miss out on what's happening around us or time we could spend together or with others, because we are absorbed in screens.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant, and I originally meant for this post to be about Norah's favorite iPad apps (another post to come!), but as I was writing I just thought it was an important topic and good reminder for us to think about how much screen time we are viewing, why we are viewing it, and the content we are viewing.


  1. Such a great thing to be conscious of in this day and age. Thanks for sharing!


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