Screen time and kids: all screens vs. passive video vs. games vs. no screen games.
GWJCC Episode 332 had an email about screen time, and while I am a heavy screen user and gamer on my own time (not in front of the kids as much as I can), as well as a tech professional, my original philosophy has long been that Less Screen Time Is Better.
However that discussion and how the world of screens is a growing part of our world and culture has me rethinking my resistance to it overall.
My wife, who spends more time with my kids in the afternoon while I am at work, has steadily overridden my objections to screen time, not without limits, but I find myself getting upset that they will often opt to watch Netflix cartoons unstead of play games interactively together, or just games in general.
My screen situation is:
TV with a PS3 for Netflix or gaming -or- Wii for gaming (one TV)
Two laptops for Netflix streaming or Flash-based educationally/parentally approved gaming sites or Terraria/Minecraft time (limited on one compared to other due to machine's age).
Kids are 10, 8, and 4.
They do not have their own screens. I would call that an unregulatable screen. That genie needs to stay in that bottle as long as possible. My wife is lobbying hard for a tablet but I am strongly resisting that because I firmly believe it would swiftly end up shattered or police evidence after one sibling bludgeons another to death with it when they rabidly don't want to give it up.
The discussion in the podcast has prompted me to consider switching tacks a bit. I still think interpersonal skills are not helped by screen time, and that in-person play and games teach more patience and ability to deal with a situation where button pushes don't do everything instantaneously for you, but if screen time is going to happen, why not prioritize it.
Has anyone here experimented with allowing more screen time if it's gaming together (good old forced co-op), maybe a little less if it's just gaming, and much less if it's video-only? They already greatly enjoy the Just Dance games on the Wii, so it's not like I'd have to force much of it. But I really would much rather them play and do deeper dives into the games they like than sit and vegetate in front of a Bay Blades cartoon. *shudder*