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Do Kids Have Too Much Screen Time?

How much screen time is OK for our children?

We are so excited to be writing our first Blog post. We hope through our Blog posts we can encourage, motivate, and provide you with information that will help you and your family.

We are educators and are very excited to be on this new adventure of owning a small business. We have 6 beautiful children, 5 energetic and boisterous boys and 1 incredibly shy yet very strong and confident daughter.

Cultivating a healthy balance in our lives and children's lives is essential for our happiness and well-being. The impact of technology on our social, mental, physical and environmental health can be damaging if we don't keep ourselves in check. There are many benefits we have from technology but with everything....yes I'm going to say it from our friendly neighborhood Spider-man's Uncle Ben, "...With great power. Comes great responsibility".

We used to love snuggling together on a Sunday afternoon and watching movies. This was usually a treat for our family to watch a movie. We were much more diligent and consistent when the kids were younger to putting the T.V only once a week, for this special snugly time.

More kids and growing tweens and teens now require using their own laptops for school. So our brilliant plan of limiting screen time, slowly went out the window. Our three younger ones watch more movies and play more video games than our older three ever did.

For my family, I see a difference in the two older boys who watched little TV and did not play any video games, compared to my younger three. I see it in their play. My oldest boys, 11 and 14, will still pull out their Lego Star Wars and Roman/ Medieval soldiers and make up their own adventures in their room together. They have running monologues and story lines designed and acted out with their Lego and Roman soldiers. When calling them to pack up and go to bed, it’s always the same reply, “Ahhh, Mom, can we just finish this last scene.”

My little ones who are 5 and 7 want to be entertained. At times it can be a struggle to get them into play mode, their minds are consistently pulling them back into their cyber land world, with, “Mama we’re only playing learning games”.

We also see a difference in our relationship with our kids with one on one, face to face time. Yes, it’s our fault that instead of wrestling with the kids or taking them out to teach them to ride their bikes. We come home and answer “one last” e-mail.

One of my favorite Disney movies is Wall-E, it’s simple, and there isn’t a lot of conversation only warnings of the future to come and possibly some predictions of the future. In some ways we are already living in a WALL-E future.

Some of the ways that we are living in WALL-E's future: Our earth is slowly becoming a giant landfill. Ever year humans produce 2.12 billion tonnes of waste, with the majority going into landfills and even into the ocean.

Adverts are always around us. Though we don’t know the exact number of adverts we are exposed to each day in 2012 Google revealed that they served an average of 29,741,270,774 ad impressions a day.

We may not have holographic screens in front of our faces all day long, but we do sink our faces into our portable phones, tablets and other electronical devices. I really love the point it makes about technology. It’s a drastic look, but sometimes seeing something so drastic can open our eyes to what’s sitting right in front of us.

I'm sure you have your own stories of growing up and having wonderful all day outdoor play, building forts and imaginary games. I loved hanging out at the basketball courts all day long or hanging out with my older brother and the neighborhood kids playing street hockey until the street lights came on.

To tell you the truth, remembering my own growing up years, I did begin to beat myself up and I became guilty that maybe, my kids are having too much screen time.

This got me thinking, I’m sure I’m not alone. So what is the appropriate amount of time that my kids, depending on their age should be on the computer/iPad/phones and screen time devices.

I came across this from The American Academy of Pediatrics:

New Screen Time Recommendations

I do struggle with balance in our family and need to address myself on my own habits. I know it doesn't work by trying to change everything all at once, but taking small size bite pieces, and making small adjustments, over time can make a whole new set of positive life habits for a more happy family.

As I share with you, I'm sitting myself down and looking at myself in the mirror when I say, time goes by so very fast. Enjoy your little ones, tweens and teens, make memories, laugh, hug them and have fun.

From our family to yours, have a wonderful and sunshiny day.

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