From The Confessional: I'm Not Sorry About My Kids' Screen Time
Judge all you want, Brenda, but screen time is a gift to parents everywhere.
Sometimes it seems like we hear it around every corner: Screen time is ruining our kids! It’s wrecking their lives! It’s turning their brains to mush! It’s turning their muscles to noodles! To hear older generations talk, their kids had zero screen time and all grew up to be physically robust, psychologically well-adjusted geniuses. (Okay, boomers.)
Today’s parents know the truth, and it’s this: Screen time can be a busy mom or dad’s best friend, and we wouldn’t want to parent without it.
“I refuse to feel bad about how much screen time my kids get. I do other things with them too and once it turns warm we will be outside all the time. those smug judgy moms can suck it.”
Because there are times when we just need a few moments (or, okay, a few hours) to collect ourselves without having six thousand demands from shrill, tiny voices assaulting our eardrums. And anybody who says they don’t, at least once in a blue moon, is straight-up lying.
“My kids let me sleep till noon. They are in elem school. They know if I sleep they can use the electronics and eat snacks. I call it a win-win.”
“I totally have a wine hangover and completely threw the ‘1 hr of electronics’ out the window!”
“I let my kids have unlimited screen time so they’ll leave me alone. I am not winning at this momming gig.”
Of course, people are going to judge …
… But more often than not, life circumstances lead to a change of heart. Or at least, a change of screen time policy. Because parenting kids without screen time is taxing AF.
“Decided to go screen free today, I’m fucking exhausted! I don’t know how people get anything done or have any peace without their kids’ faces in screens.”
“I’m sorry I ever judged parents who let their kids play video games all day or ‘use tv as babysitter.’ Now I feel like electronics are a godsend for keeping kids quiet and occupied. We have 8 kids.”
And despite that, the kids are doing all right — so take that, haters. A study from the University of Michigan found that it isn’t the amount of screen time that has a potential impact, it’s how the kids are using the screens. Active screen time, i.e. playing games that require physical or cognitive effort (like participation or imitation), isn’t linked to the same negative consequences that all the pearl-clutching Susans like to crow about.
“My girls are sweet, gentle, polite, well-adjusted, well-behaved…and you think I’m a bad mother just because I have no limit on screen time? Guess what? IDGAF.”
“My kids were never limited with screen time, have there own tablets and have free reign of them. DD10 now develops apps in her free time and DS5 reads 1st grade chapter books. Screw You doctors and nay sayers! I’m doing something right.”
“Tired of other moms judging how much screen time I let DD have. She comes 1st in her grade every year, and is sweet & kind. If anything, she has a bigger vocab and better general knowledge than her peers because of the computer!”
Anyway, it’s easy to get on a no-screen-time high horse when you’re not the one hanging out with the kids all day.
“Absolutely hate when DH enforces a ‘no screen time’ rule for the kids, then goes to work, leaving me to either totally disregard The rule to get some shit done, or go along with it and try to entertain them all day. I always go with option A.”
But we all know that when we’re safe from the prying eyes of judgment, it’s game on. Literally.
“I laughed when I read AAP finally changed its ‘screen time’ guidelines. As if we all aren’t letting our kids watch whatever TV will help us all survive the day.”
“I operate a ‘screenless’ daycare, which really just means no screens at drop-off or pick-up times. Any other time is fair game for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
Naturally, though, we’d never admit that anywhere but in The Confessional. Especially not to anyone who’s actually qualified to judge, like the pediatrician.
ALTHOUGH … ahem.
“My neighbor is a pediatrician. Her DS10 is on a screen ALL. THE. TIME. So much for APA recommendations.”
Even if we do try to limit our kids’ screen time, it’s hard to do so when we don’t really wanna practice what we preach.
“I tell my children no electronics and use your imagination. I tell them this while staring at my phone. Mommy fail.”
“I spend waaay too much time on my phone, in front of my kids, while strictly limiting their screen time.”
“Now my iPhone will tell me how much screen time I have every day. Well that’s just fucking great…”
Well, this is one case where the old phrase “do as I say, not as I do” definitely applies. But even if it doesn’t, at least it buys us a few minutes– or hours — of peace and quiet.
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