Since we’re on the topic of screen time, I want you to know that this is the challenge of our time. Parenting kids with technology – screens and phones is the defining issue of our time.
Part of that reason is that we have no sets of data on how children turn into not just adults – but go through adulthood after being given screens and eventually social media at a certain age. So when our children reach 50, everyone will look back and judge – should have done this/should have done that.
My best guess is that screens aren’t the enemy - our brains may become better in sync with the use of technology to make us more efficient. But the social side of things is a different story. Socially, there are a lot more kids committing suicide than before, so I think it’s already starting to show itself.
While that got a little deep there for a second, my main goal was to help you get your kids off the ipads. Everyone has a different level, and though my time limit on screens is really low, all of us realize that it has to end sometime. And often a meltdown occurs. So how to stop the meltdown?
Now there’s a lot of MDs weighing in here, but I think common sense plus one extra level of thinking gets us there. The question I pose is ‘why’. Why is your kid having a meltdown. You probably say – he doesn’t want to be done. Yes, but why is he having such a hard time being done? And the answer is that he’s really into this world. It doesn’t take a PhD to see that these games are designed to suck your kid in. So getting them out of it is going to have to be a step beyond giving them a timer. You’re going to have to interact with them. 5 minutes before you want them to be done, you have to sit next to them and ask them to explain what’s going on in the game. This helps them bridge the gap between reality and game. And yes, you need to tell them that there’s a timer and they will be done soon – but you have to hold their virtual hand and get them back to reality.