Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Screen Rules

I read this today, posted by a traditional home schooler, and it got me thinking.

I was prepared to scoff and be mentally argumentative, expecting the traditional dogma of severe limits on brain-rotting screen time, but was surprised. My kids and I have discussed these same issues at length and have come up with some pretty similar guidelines like chores first, respecting others' property since their parents own the home we share and the hardware we use, reasonable wake and bedtimes, prioritizing, wasting time, academic pursuits, online personas, self worth, morality, etc. I was surprised that I agreed with her so often even though her stance is so much in line with current and popular anti-screen attitude with which I so heartily disagree.

Personally, I find screens to be eminently more educational than any previous media I have used. Especially nursing this one baby with a smartphone and Netflix compared to my previous 5 children without, reading books was too unwieldy with balancing and grabby little hands, nursing felt like I was stuck, incredibly boring and seemed to take forever. Now I can read articles, watch documentaries, and have nursed longer, more often, more easily, and more responsively. I also spend a lot more time with my kids watching shows we both enjoy and discuss rather than the old model of banal kid stuff during the day and mom stuff prime time after they went to sleep. Even still, there is a flip side to that we have all seen where things go awry. Pros and cons to all things.

Truth told, the lessons and trials of a world full of screens are nothing new to humankind, merely just presented in a deceptively new context.

When I was little, moms wasted their time reading a lot of chick-lit or talking on the phone (tied to a wall). Wasting time is nothing new for tired mothers. I personally feel much more engaged even during my down time because through my screens I have so many rich resources to choose from. Perhaps that comes from a maturity that my kids don't yet have. But condemning screens limits not only the wonderful educational outlets available through them, but also prevents learning the hard failure-filled lessons of prioritizing activities while still at home with a parental safety net.

In the end, the rules themselves are not as important as the discussions in crafting them. Involvement, rather than imposing, are still the eternal keys to good parenting.

1 comment:

Kelly(M&M) said...

I love this Emma. I have a love-hate relationship with screens. I do feel it is most important to talk to the kids about it. :-)