Quite frankly I still cannot believe it. For Christmas we gave Cai something that has not lived in our house for over a decade. A TV. I am still reeling over the honking, great big screen, attached to a Wii, Apple TV, and soon a few local channels. Not only that, we tidied up a basement room so that it sits proudly, center stage nestled in its own den.
As new parents we decided that not having a big screen in our house would prevent it from becoming a focal point and therefore would not distract us from the work of being a family. We had seen the statistics (still growing annually) of how much screen time children were receiving and also read the research of the detrimental effects of these numbers. The bottom line is we are glad we did this. I still do not agree with recent articles such as this one from the Washington Post Screen time guidelines for kids may finally get a reality check as we have not needed to bow to the norm. Cai has had screen time it has just been pretty minimal, two hours during a school week and only between Friday and Saturday nights. I want to be clear we are human and my smart phone for instance has been out way too much but I am truly thankful that we managed to limit our son from this kind of stimulation. Ultimately, it made it a lot easier to go out and do other things and I really agree with Kim John Payne’s analogy for technology being an adult tool. My son goes in the car with me on a regular basis, he often tells me where we are going but I never hand him the keys. That will come when the time is right. (I am looking forward to it!)
Buying a TV, like not having one in the first place was a decision. With careful handling, I believe the time is now right. He will start using computers for school work before too long (I will go out on a limb here and say I do not believe they have a place before middle school and even then should be used carefully until high school).
I have loved watching Cai’s life unfold simply, I know that in some ways this decision means change. Watch this space, I will tell you how it unfolds and if you have questions about my thinking on children and technology comment below and I will happily address them.
What might your family life look like with less technology?