Is Screentime A Bad Thing?

Is Screentime A Bad Thing?

Everywhere we turn we’re being told that letting our children have too much screen time is a detriment to their well-being.  We are judged for giving them an iPad or other device to buy ourselves a few minutes of quiet.  We are frowned upon if they regularly watch television.  WHY?  I grew up in a home where the television was never turned off.  Truth be told JustaBXgrandpa still sleeps with the television watching him.

This post has been sponsored by the Toy Association. As always all opinions are honest and solely my own.
Just like you, I spend a lot of time worrying on if I’m somehow stunting JustaBXgirl by giving her screen time freedom.  Don’t forget, last summer I wrote about ways to limit screen time.  I still stand behind those tips but I want us to take a step back and really think about this.  In excess just about everything is bad for us.  We know this.  And yes, children need to do more than just spend time with their eyes glued to a screen but for a moment I want us to talk about screen time with the idea that we’re not talking about excess.  And what is excess, is something that you need to decide for your family.

JustaBXgirl pretty much has free reign on when she uses her iPad.  She also has pretty open say on what she does when she’s on her iPad.  I know, I know I’m a horrible mother!  Stick with me here for a minute before you click off the site in disgust.  The reason that JustaBXgirl has so much freedom when it comes to screen time is simple.  She has earned it.  Huh? How’s that.

I don’t worry about what she’s doing on her iPad because I know exactly what is on the device.  I regularly go through her device to make sure her and her cousins haven’t downloaded something that I don’t approve of.  Almost every app on the device has an education angle to it.  There are a few that can be considered just for fun but even those I can find a way to connect back to learning.

She does have Kids YouTube and Netflix on the iPad but I don’t worry too much about those either.  She prefers Kids YouTube to Netflix and my child is random.  While she loves watching toy unboxings and people playing games.  I still consider this educational because she wants to be a Youtuber and she learns what she likes in videos and what she doesn’t like by researching other channels.  The other reason I’m okay with her being on YouTube is because she binges on things like Wild Kratts, Octonauts and KidsHealth videos.

She learns more from many of the videos she watches than she would just by spending time with me.  Just the other day she was explaining to her Abuela that she is darker because she has more melanin in her skin than Abuela.  She recently came to me and was excited to share facts on how cheetahs run so fast.  In case you didn’t know, cheetahs are one of her favorite animals.  She also recently learned that the stars don’t actually disappear in the day time we just can’t see them!  It might be because she’s my little but she regularly impresses me with the random facts she picks up from her videos.

Oh, for those that are thinking how do I let her watch Kids YouTube without supervision, don’t fret.  Anytime she’s watching a video from a channel she hasn’t previously seen she brings me her iPad to show me and to get permission to watch the video.

Another reason I rarely choose to limit screen time is because JustaBXgirl limits herself.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when she feels like being on her iPad or watching DVDS or television from the time she wakes up until it’s time to go to bed.  Be honest, don’t you have times when all you want to do is stay in bed and binge on Netflix?? I thought so.  Normally though?  Normally JustaBXgirl asks me to turn on the television less than three times a week.  Normally, she wakes up and has some iPad time until I’m ready to start the day and will watch shows while she’s eating if nobody is sharing meal time with her.  She might pick up the iPad at some point during the day but she might not depending on her mood that day.

My opinion on screen time might be different if JustaBXgirl was a different child.  I’ve set expectations and ground rules for screen time behavior whether we’re talking iPad, TV or DVDs.  I also spend time getting to know what she’s doing.  I pay attention to what she watches (which is why I almost fangirled at Blogger Bash when I saw some of her fave YouTube families).

I think in moderation screen time can be a good thing.  I also think it’s one of those topics that can reignite Mommy Wars.  And I think that we all need to make decisions based on our littles and our families.  Don’t just listen to my opinion though.  Listen to what some other families are saying as well.  Kids & Screens are just one of the topics include in the Genius of Play campaign.  Genius of Play  reminds us that play is a very important part of learning.  It also reminds us that play can happen in different forms.  In that sense spending time on their screens is just one other form of play!

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  • I use to worry about screen time but I don’t anymore because like you I know what my little one is doing on it.

    • Yes! I just said to a friend last night I don’t worry too much since JustaBXgirl doesn’t read yet but I’m already instilling basic safety cues for her when it comes to being online.

  • Honestly I’m not a parent that is concerned about screen time. I am more concerned about the content. The Kid watches youtube kids all the time and i spend lots of time reporting videos that i deem inappropriate from that apo than i do from youtube. Balance is important of course but i am a geeky/nerd mom and i make allowances on screen time because of his interests in building worlds and exploring the digital world for his level now and not just playing on apps randomly

  • I think this is fine line because my critters love them so much they play them until the battery dies. I like them because it gives the chance to have access to what they want and not subject everyone else in the house to what they like aka You TUbe gamer videos. So tablet and screens are ok in my book, they def help me out.

  • I think anything in excess is too much! Both of my children have their own iPads and we limit the time. They did get to the point where all they were watching was Kids YouTube so I deleted that and every couple of months I change up the games that they have on their iPads. But I love them for educational stuff and games…and for Mommy and Daddy to have some quiet time!

  • Anything in moderation is fine, I suppose. When screen time affects sleeping patterns, regular exercise, interacting with people and building social skills, and/or when it becomes difficult to get your child’s attention, then I would worry. We still don’t know the long term effects though, so I would err on the cautious side. Working in public health, one thing we do know is that teen depression has sky-rocketed with the advent of social media. THAT I would monitor very closely once she hits her teens.

    • Social media is a whole other concern, I think though that it all start young. If we teach boundaries, expectations and discernment from a young age then by the time they get to social media age they will carry some of those lessons with them. And I think it’s critical for parents to know what they’re tween/teens are involved in on social media.

  • Both of my kids have iPads (age 5 & 12) we monitor both of them. They play on them, but they don’t usually spend a concerning amount of time on them. The nice thing is they also play educational games on there and that makes it a bit different as well.

    • Yes, iPads shouldn’t be scary because ass parents we should know and pretty much control the content they have access to on them.

    • I hear that! My niece is about to turn 13 and she knows at anytime I can ask for her phone and she must hand it over!

  • I think there should be a limit. Kids should have time to play without gadgets and with friends/family. It’s crazy how glued to the screens our society has become. Daily I see people crossing the streets with their eyes glued to their phones – it’s crazy.

    • And that’s so dangerous! I’m happy that they’re starting to make it illegal to cross on a device. Hopefully it will be everywhere soon.

  • We do monitor how much time our daughter spends on her tablet. I must admit it is easier to put the tablet in front of her when we are trying to get things done. It keeps her busy. We took off YouTube regular and kids completely because even things on the kids channel is sometimes not age appropriate or violent. The little action figures fighting etc

  • Hi! I’m with you. I often feel like I’m in the minority because I honestly don’t see any harm with my children having their screen time. I, like you, know exactly what’s on their tablets. I monitor the content and I actually see them learning so much from vocabulary to fun facts. I of course will always be aware of how much the use tablets but still.. I don’t think screen time is a bad thing

    • I think it is because we are involved with their screen time that we’re comfortable with it. I recently attended a focus group on Youtube and one of the parents remarked that I was familiar with a lot of the Youtubers names. I replied, “yes, because my daughter watches them.” I would be much more concerned with her usage if I didn’t know what she was doing on it.

  • Nice post. I don’t have any little ones, but I’m a teacher and I get on my kids all the time about screen time. Some parent are like you and have limits and monitor often and others don’t, which annoys me greatly. I guess it depends on the maturity of the child. Thank you for sharing

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