Well. It seems the trend these days is to not limit screen time for children. "Let them learn to moderate themselves," is the newest parenting battle cry.
Sure. Yeah. Ok.
Look, I get the idea behind not limiting screens as equaling that they learn to limit themselves. I see the really good intentions behind this plan.
But it's absolute bull crap. Utter and complete horse hockey.
Let's be real here. I use my phone a lot. Some for funsies, some for worksies. A lot. I have to, as a 32 year old ADULT, make a conscious effort to not peak at my notifications every five minutes.
It's just too easy.
Also, as a human who has reached full cognitive development, I'm expected to be capable of lots of self-control. Because...adult.
My children on the other hand?
Well. They moderate nothing.
Nothing. They'll happily eat junk non-stop. They'll wear a shirt for days if I don't intervene. They'll screen time until their eyeballs fall out and roll across the floor.
As parents we have a sacred responsibly to prepare these folks for life beyond elementary school.
To prepare them we're teaching them moderation through SETTING LIMITS.
No. You can not have candy. Here is a carrot stick.
No. You may not punch your brother when you are angry. Use words.
No. You may not sneak your tablet and play Minecraft in bed until 10pm. You are now grounded from your tablet for a week.
Allowing children free reign of ANYTHING teaches them not to moderate, but to over-indulge.
Instead, I'm teaching them to set proper limits by setting those limits for them until they gain proper cognitive ability to choose moderation themselves.
Left to their own devices (ha I'm so punny) they don't quit. They just stay glued. For.hours.
So heck yes I'll limit their screen to time, candy intake and general tendency to be gluttonous and slothful. It's my job to teach them what it feels like to constrain one's self. It's my job to help them recognize when enough is enough.
This way when they are 32, they can moderate themselves. Because their parents taught them HOW rather than just expecting that through some sort of miraculous conversion, they'll figure it out on their own.
I know limiting screens can be a battle. It's easier just to let them. Oh yes. I get it. By standing firm, we are showing our children how to use technology responsibly. Through our own example of putting the devices aside they learn to do as we DO as much as what we say.
We need more interaction, more playing outside and more moderation.
And less Mine Craft. Much less of that.