The Case Against Electronics For Kids

3.13.2017


But I really, really want one.
Don't care.

But all my friends have one.
Don't care.

But I neeeeeeeed one.
Don't care.

You're the meanest mom ever.
Thank you, I try. *wink

And there you have it.

See, I despise overconsumption. It can be in many forms, but for today, I'm talking about the overconsumption of electronics for children. Screen time is such a passionate issue with me and it is something I refuse to give into. I really don't care what everyone else says, I really don't care what everyone else is doing and I really don't care if my kids hate me because I won't buy them a game console. 

I mean, there literally isn't even just one care anywhere in there for me to give. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty that my boys have never opened an Xbox on Christmas morning. It doesn't keep me up at night racked with remorse that my kids don't have their own TV in their bedrooms. And it sure as hell doesn't give me conflict over whether or not to buy my boys an iPhone. 

The day my kids have an iPhone is the day they can buy one themselves. 

To be honest, I sometimes feel the need to stretch so far to the other side that I've fantasized about taking my family and moving us all to some remote island with not a single plug-in to be found. No shoes, no shirt, no shitty plastic newest edition handheld.

Alas, we don't live in the middle of Tanzania so I try and reign it in as best I can. As much as I believe that for the most part, kids should be using their time exploring, creating and building, I understand a little give and take is par for the course.

My kids each have an iPad. Not an Apple iPad (too expensive and unnecessary for their age), but one I got from Amazon that was designed strictly for children. I have to approve and download any app they want, and they don't even have the option of buying things online. (Don't even get me started on spending real money on virtual stuff — I just cannot comprehend such silliness.)

With those iPads come strict rules. They only get to play them on weekends - non negotiable - and their time is limited. I google every new game they want to download and check parent reviews. My children also aren't allowed to play a lot of the popular "kid" games out there. (Seriously, do some research. The popular game Roblox that every child loves? So many parent reviews say as much as the moderators try to keep it PC, it's super easy to breach the restrictions and many parents have witnessed pornographic subject matter while their kids were playing. It isn't uncommon. Further, I thought "youtube kids" was an app designated towards, well, kids. That is until I was standing over them watching a video and I heard, "I'm gonna kick your ass!" Delete.)

Also, the second they get upset while playing their iPads - whether it be because a game isn't working properly or their brother made their character die in Minecraft - is the second I walk up to them and take them away. I refuse, absolutely refuse! to let electronics be a source of dissension in their lives. If it is making them unhappy or grouchy, it's gone. And I always explain to them my reasoning - I tell them iPads should be fun, and since they get to play for such limited time, if it makes them upset or agitated, it is working in a negative way and isn't benefiting their precious minds and souls. 

TV time is limited also. Again, they aren't allowed to watch television during the school week. It simply just doesn't come on when they walk through the door after school. The content of what they watch is again approved by me. I know one day I will have zero control over what they do/see/experience so I'm using the time I do have to hopefully lay a solid foundation. 

I've even gone long periods of time with no TV and iPad at all! I just ban it completely. Sometimes they make me so angry that I go into my "that's it we are living like they did in the stone age" mentality and then that's exactly what we do. I remember thinking their questions of "but why can't we play iPad? Why can't we watch TV" would never end but amazingly, after a week or two, they do! It's a learned behavior to get addicted to that stuff and it takes a new learned behavior to become un-addicted. 

I would also like to point out that when my kids are home from school, I am never watching TV myself during their waking hours. I never sit down on the couch and turn on a TV program for myself to watch until they are off to bed lights out. Do as mommy says and does, isn't that right? 

Mommy could definitely get her own face out of her iPhone more often... *hangs head in shame

What do we do to fill our time? We read, we paint art projects, we build Lego cities, get pulled behind the 4-wheeler when it snows and when it's warm outside, we basically live and breath the outdoors. I didn't buy myself my own Razer scooter for nothing. I'm getting the motorized one this year, you know it.

We spend money on outdoor things: bikes and trikes and trampolines and tree swings and obstacle courses. Even in the summer, the screen time rule still applies. Out. The. Door. Don't whine. 

Look, I get the whole 'different strokes for different folks thing'. Some families may have no problem with having an Xbox in the house - a few of my good friends have game consoles for their kids and it seems to work out just fine for them. I know my kids, and I know that even if I gave them limited play time, it would be a constant source of discord. They would want "just 5 more minutes" and "but why can't we play it now" and I just choose not to even welcome that battle in the front door.

Gotta go though. Tarzan is naked out on the trampoline and the neighbors are starting to come home from work. We aren't completely uncivilized over here.

(as I google property for sale in Tanzania...) 


If you want more anti-screen time proof, you can read this or this or this or this
All very informative and from people who have actual professional stats to back it up!

8 comments:

  1. I love this so much. I've been cutting back screen time for my boys and most parents look at me like I just grew a third eye when it comes up. It's refreshing to see other mamas out there who feel the same!

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  2. This was our stand on anything we said no to. My kids didn't have the it thing of the day when they lived under my roof.

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  3. Love it. We didn't have a game console in my house until I was a freshmen in college, my Mom caved and got a wii for Christmas. That was almost 10 years ago and that thing is got used maybe 5 times. Now they just use it for netflix. I always got mad at her for not letting us have an N64, but now I'm so glad she didn't.

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