I do not want my children to live in this virtual world!
I was concerned when I read an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013, which said that 38% of children under the age of two use mobile devices, such as smartphones. And in 2015, another study conducted by Bio Research showed that 73% of children aged 13-17 owned smartphones, 24% of which said they used their devices almost constantly.
Honestly, I was shocked by these numbers! And that made me think of how much damage my two little girls might face if we did not make a healthy and consistent plan for them to control and limit their screen time.
I try to limit screen time for my children as much as possible, and so I set for them a total of 45 minutes that is split throughout the day.
The other day my youngest wanted more screen time than what is permitted and so I told her no and explained that not everything is TV, phones, or tablets; they can use their time to play with other things. While I was explaining this to them, I went on to add how when we were their age we didn’t have tablets or phones, and TV time was limited to 15-30 minutes per day.
My children looked amazed at me, they didn’t understand how we didn’t have all this back in the days and they asked: what did you do? And why didn’t you have all this? Your mom and dad didn’t have money to buy this for you?
My children looked at me, amazed. They didn’t understand how we didn’t have all this back in the day and they asked: “What did you do? And why didn’t you have all this? Your mom and dad didn’t have money to buy this for you?”
I tried to explain as best as I could how our days were filled with social activities, like playing outdoors with our siblings and neighbours. They, unfortunately, can no longer do that, they can no longer entertain themselves, given that we never really limited their screen time as they were growing up.
After a good 20-minute lecture, my six-year-old still asked me: “Can we have ten minutes of YouTube?”
It’s crazy yet scary how our children now a days are so connected yet isolated because most of their time revolves around digital devices rather than the offline world.
It’s crazy and scary how our children nowadays are so connected, yet so disconnected because most of their time revolves around digital devices rather than the offline world.
Yes, life has changed, but I would still want my children to be more exposed to “real life,” because although I believe that the virtual world can open doors, it remains a virtual life - one that promises higher expectations than what the real world can really offer.
My advice to parents who are going through this as well is to please try to make the effort to manage your children’s screen time. We tend to give them these electronic devices because we want to relax at times, but we need to step back, think of the long-term effects and try to do activities with them instead.