The image today is of Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York, perhaps the city’s best 1950’s themed restaurant. Employees are known for their singing talents, many which end up on Broadway and have even found their way to American Idol.
MANAGING SCREEN TIME
As parents we struggle a lot with managing screen time for our son. About a year ago we developed a written contract that essentially banned it during the week, but allowed an hour each day on weekends (excluding watching a movies). But it’s not just time that is the issue; it’s also the content. Often our son wants to see movies or play video games that Common Sense Media says are not age-appropriate. So it’s time for an overhaul of our plan.
Our son is a master at repackaging how his screen time gets defined. He knows we are far more willing to let him stare at an iPad during the week if it’s related to homework, or use an old iPhone as long as it’s for music, than we are to say it’s fine to play a video game. So in his eyes, not all screen time is equal. And he is quite skilled at getting us to push the limits of content by making us feel guilty for not allowing him the same access as his friends.
Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with guidelines for parents saying that kids aged 3-18 should not have more than two hours of entertainment screen time per day (they avoided the content issue altogether). Given that, we should be awarded medals as rock star parents! And while research suggests that more than two hours is associated with many health and social risks, we cannot help but believe giving him two hours a day would create a monster. We have witnessed how 30 minutes can change his behavior once he is asked to stop engaging with the technology!
REVISING OUR SCREEN TIME
We need a better framework for defining screen time beyond the notion that it involves staring at any type of screen, including: smart phones, televisions, tablets, computers, video game systems, and hand-held games. Then time limits placed on the types of screen time make more sense.
This will take some work and to help, we will…
Using Survey Monkey, we plan to work with our son’s school to conduct a survey of parents so we have real data on his peers to help us in creating our new guidelines, both for time limits as well as content. We know other parents may be more lenient given what the research says about average screen time, but doing this exercise seems like the right thing to do.
DRAFT A PLAN
We will draft a plan with our son’s involvement, and then test it out for a few weeks to see how well it works. Key to the plan will be consistency and boundaries, something we will need to build into the plan.