before we had kids, a co-worker of ours from michigan said that they only let their kids have 1 hour total of "screen time" per day. screen time was anything that involves a screen....TV, videos, video games, hand-held games, computer (not for education of course), etc.
radical, eh? considering most kids today watch four hours of TV alone per day. that doesn't include the other Screens.
linda and the kids just finished reading the book, charlie and the chocolate factory by ronald dahl. the oompa-loompas sing an insighful farewell song as mike teavee is taken away to be stretched back to size. they sing....
"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, Never, NEVER let
Them near your television set -
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen,
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out...
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink -
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRLYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK - HE ONLY SEES!
this was written back in the 70s and most of the current generations only know life with hours of Screen time a day. another way is not even imaginable.
now, don't get me wrong...i know EXACTLY how difficult it is to not use Screens as babysitters. if Screen time is lessened, parents have to replace it with more time spent, instruction (a.k.a., discipline), and coaching (on finding things to do). Screen-time-as-parent-and-friend is deeply entrenched in a whole life system that we have grown up with in America. To suddenly stop using the Screens is extremely difficult...especially if you are a single parent or practically so.
we do go by the 1 hour of Screen time a day guideline...it's just a guideline. sometimes there is no Screen time...some days have much more.
i believe that the sacrifice will be worth it in the long run...and i keep telling myself that when i have a long list of things i'd like to do and i just can't fit it all in! :)
but according to the oompa-loompas, we're on the right track.