Too Much Screen Time?

If I think about it, it seems a bit crazy how much the Internet has taken over our lives. I remember the time before computers, the Internet, mobile phones and tablets. I remember the time when my Mum first introduced a computer to our home and the dial up Internet that we could only use when nobody was on the house phone. I remember it so well, but it's been a good few years since then. 

I never would have thought back then that one day I would make a living from the Internet, or that my Husband would either. But here we are, both with Internet-based jobs.. me a blogger and now a vlogger connecting with people all over the world and him a Lego custom mini figure designer and seller, selling his creations across the globe to those that like them. It's amazing really.. we love our jobs and we are so thankful to be able to work hard at doing something we both love. 

It's inevitable that our children will grow up in a world full of tech far more advanced and sophisticated than what we currently have. They will need to know how to use it as this tech will undoubtedly be something that they are expected to be good with for their future jobs. Smart phones will evolve and the things we use computers and the Internet for will expand. But does that mean that we should feel it is necessary or OK to introduce things like smart phones and tablets to our children early? And if so when is the right time? And then how much screen time is too much screen time? Is children using smart phones to watch things like YouTube the same as them watching television? Should we restrict it in the same way if so?  

A recent survey commissioned by My Voucher Codes  looked into the ramifications of children living their lives on social media, specifically looking at the way social media can affect education. The survey asked 2,500 parents a number of questions based on their children’s Internet usage including how long they spend each day online, whether there are any restrictions such as banned apps and whether they think that social media sites affect their child’s education. The results of which have been reported here. One thing that has stuck with me from reading this is that a staggering 75% of parents admitted that they felt mobiles, tablets and gaming devices created a negative effect on their children’s ability to concentrate in school, yet half of them said that they didn't restrict their children's time on the devices. 

I think it's each to their own. I think each family is different and each parent is entitled to decide how much screen time is too much for their children. But going back to where I mentioned television... Personally Adam and I feel like we have been guilty lately of letting our boys maybe watch too much television than we are comfortable with. It's not at all like our boys have sat in front of the TV all day everyday, it's quite the opposite as we are a family who love to get outdoors. But we still feel like it is too easy to switch on the television and let the boys watch it whilst we get on with jobs around the house. I've noticed that whilst the TV is on Logan will stop playing and sit there the entire time watching whatever is on and forget about his toys and this bothers me. So I have reminded myself that I don't need to have the television on to be able to get on with house jobs, he is more than capable of sitting and playing with his toys for a while whilst I hoover or unload the dishwasher etc. I think TV time is absolutely fine, but in moderation and for us personally I'd like to decrease it a little. 

And the same goes for Ethan with the YouTube Kids app which he has only recently gotten in to. He seems to have a bit of a struggle coming away from it, despite not going on it that often. So this is something we are bearing in mind, keeping to a minimum and making sure we are using the timer for. 

I find this topic quite interesting as I feel like we are the first generation to have really young children introduced to smart phones and the Internet. I'd love to know your thoughts on this topic and hear your opinions on how much screen time is too much?

1 comment

  1. I've read many times that under 2's shouldn't have any screen time, which I find odd because there's so many television programmes aimed at that age group! I do think in moderation that screen time is fine, in fact I am sure that my daughter has learnt quite a bit from TV so far. She's 22 months now. I was however mortified when she started asking for Mickey Mouse clubhouse to be put on! Mostly because I think I worried she was then getting used to having the tv on and specifically something she enjoyed. I tend not to put it on until about 4pm though so I can get on with dinner and house stuff.
    She's not really used an iPad yet, only on holiday and at things like weddings/large get togethers where it's all a bit much for her and it keeps her calm.
    But I worry too that I'm aware of how easy it is to stick a bit of telly on. I'm from a very outdoorsy family and so I try to make sure we go out a lot as a family.

    I guess they will need to become familiar with all this technology early though. One of my friends daughters gets homework to do on tablets! My friend felt so pressured that she had to go out and get her daughter a tablet at 6!