I have read a lot of articles in the past few years
regarding the use of screen time and young children, namely how often you put
an electronic device in their hands as opposed to other forms of amusement,
education, and entertainment. I still feel that is no big deal, but there are
some general things I have noticed from watching my own son play these devices
and how he behaves before, during, and after using these devices.
This is not just Lucas. More often
than not, children get crabby after you take a device away from them regardless
of how long they got to play or how they interacted with the device. It is
actually a little scary, as the longer you let them play, the crabbier they are
when they separate from the device. While I have never followed this train of
thought before, I do believe playtime on such devices should not last longer
than 20 minutes because of this attitude change that is pretty consistent in
I don’t know if it is just Lucas,
but when he plays a device, he is ultra focused. Whether the app involved is a
book, an educational game, an entertaining game, or a puzzle, he is intimately
involved with what is in front of him. Since this kind of focus is kind of
unnatural for a 5-year old child, I would assume that this level of focus is
not that good. While I’m sure the practice of paying attention to something for
a long period of time isn’t that bad, it is difficult to apply the direct
interaction that a device offers as compared to the interplay and interpersonal
communication that most play and learning involve. I would love if Lucas could
focus like that at school!
3. Extra time for a reset
Whenever I see children playing these
devices, I do see a consistent pattern of some time needed for a reset. The
time between putting the device away and the start of the next activity tends
to need a longer “reset” moment. I know my son has this feeling of boredom and
pressure that he seems to release in a long sigh after the device is put away,
then he can move on to the next thing.
Again, I used to think screen time was not a big deal, but it does seem
to take a lot out of children.
In the end, I don’t see too big a problem with children
using tablets, smartphones, and other assorted devices to play and learn with. They
can be fun and let’s face it, the future of our children’s lives will involve a
lot of time in front of screens. I do see the point and value of limiting this
time, however, as I think too much time in front of a screen does limit your capabilities
in interacting with the world around you.
Labels: devices, limiting screen time, screen time, smartphones, Tablets, video games