So screen time has increased in our house and mean INCREASED. There are no rules around it, except that devices can’t be in your room at night, and that they need to approve content through me. That’s it. No other rules. No timers. No earning or losing screen time. None of that shit.
And I’m watching. My own experiment unfold.
They are watching a LOT of TV, movies, games, online courses etc. That for sure is a bi-product, but I also see more.
I’ve also seen them chose NOT to use technology. More often now. I saw this shift about 3 weeks in. AND they are using technology differently. Benno is using tech to build a world and to get more certificates. Currently, he is taking his boaters license certification online. Jacob is showing a lot of interest in puzzles and math games. Before it was TV shows only.
Maybe you can only see this reality from my world. Maybe in your world that wouldn’t happen. But writing this down so I can remember and possibly apply this lesson for years to come.
Why have I been limiting screen time when I know that the research is SO inconclusive? Why when I know that even the pediatricians have had to back down from their “No screen time” policy? They can’t prove a correlation.
I guess we all wish an easier life for our children. This digital world is so complicated. So scary. Strangers within a click of a mouse, but we need to move on past grief, anger into acceptance. As there is NOTHING we can do about it, BUT prepare them for it.
Question: Did you use a typewriter after seeing the computer? Didn’t think so.
So why do you think that restricting your child from screens will make them less reluctant to join them when they see them?
There is no such thing as “Make America Great Again.” You can’t go back. You can’t show people the light and then put them in darkness. Innovation and creation are what life is about. This is what we were put on the earth to do. We create. We build. Just like ants. Building towers of innovation and right now there is a whole world being created, a digital one.
So to tell our kids that this technology is not for them…that is just nonsense. This technology will be their WORLD. It will be how they operate.
However, I will say that out of the research…the only thing that makes me pause is the stimulant part. TV moves faster than real life. In an hour and a half, you can travel to galaxies and even destroy them. And the pixels of light penetrating your eyes are more rapid than real life too. I can see screen time over-stimulating for children or for making real-life feel boring. Or my biggest fear…desensitized. But, again remember that we are still evolving creatures. Evolution has never stopped. Who knows what the future of the human race will evolve into. Maybe that part of our brains will adapt. Maybe this has already happened.
Maybe you ADD kid will just be “kid” 5 years from now.
But I have a theory going. Everything comes down to energy. EVERYTHING. This is deep into my cancer research, but it applies here without going too deep into that. Everything we do is to fueled by wanting to feel “good” and that feeling at a biological level is energy.
So how do you combat the energy from technology? As it is powerful. By making real-life energy, making a home, a family. Energy is strongest ( I believe) when you connect to others. Make real-life energetic.
It is working for us and I’m happier.
The best part is the tech battle. I don’t miss the fights. I feel like I just pulled out of Vietnam. Just like Vietnam where we thought we knew everything, we were operating in a terrain that we knew nothing about. Technology is a topic that you know less than your child on! Your child is a digital native and you are not. They will work around you. Just watch. I’ve seen it SO many times. You will lose.
You can shield your child as much as you can, but that will not change the outcome. Your child will live in a digital world and physical world. You can’t understand the skills needed for success nor can I. We don’t know much and this definitely includes your pediatrician. We just don’t know enough and anyone who tells they do is full of shit.
(However, we can apply metacognitive skills to help these kids! Whole other conversation. )
But empirically, we just don’t know. “i” gen, otherwise known as gen Z was born between 1995 and 2015. To put things in perspective Facebook launched in 2004. They were the first generation to have TWO identities, online and in person. They grew up with facebook/instagram/etc. This is a real defining characteristic of this generation. Game changer.
Therefore, there is no prior generation who grew up in this reality. And we don’t know much about them as they are currently between 4-24 years old. Are they able to read books without AR images popping out at them? Well I’m sitting on a park bench and I see a 20 year old reading a hard cover book…so maybe not all is lost:)
But I’m experimenting over here and learning a lot with my own gen Z children and I’ve come to a conclusion.
Make real-life full of connection and give them the ability to CHOOSE it.
I believe the biggest skill to master for this generation will be the ability to select the right tool at the right time. The ability to understand and control technology’s power and use it appropriately. If never given the ability to choose to use tech (or not use tech) they will never get to practice this skill. I know one fear is addiction. But if you have an addictive personality that exists in real life too and one could argue that the real life addictions have higher stakes.
These kids will need to practice in both worlds how to navigate.
They will learn this with you as a guide, but ultimately find their way.