My husband and I have been struggling with setting a limit for screen time in our household. Not so much for ourselves, (although we should probably reduce that as well), but for our kids. Although every type of screen is considered cumulative towards the total, we wonder if certain video games, (minecraft) are worse than Saturday morning cartoons?
While we continue to research what the limits are going to be in our household, we have put extreme rules into effect. We have been running a bit of an experiment. Most of July was a complete ban because we were on holidays and the computers stayed at home. In August, we let them play for hours on end. Once they were back in school, the workload and activities have forced us into weekends only and we have curtailed that even further.
In the place of video games and youtube, we are encouraging our kids to do real stuff. Play actual card and board games with each other, instead of virtual ones against a computer. Invent ways to entertain yourself and your friends. Get out the crayons and draw something for real. It is surprising how quickly they embrace all this, “old school” activity.
While these are the children of the iPod generation, kids who are born into technology, it is not an evolutionary change. In other words, they are still normal kids like we were and in the absence of technology they are inventive, creative and capable of entertaining themselves. Or not. But being bored is OK. Getting yourself out of being bored is an important life skill.
So on a sunny, crisp October morning, when the salmon are running, my husband has taken my son out in a boat to “actually” have an adventure. Maybe they will catch something, maybe not. But when my son thinks back to his eleventh year, this day will be a highlight, not how many points he racked up in a video game.