Being a parent today definitely has its unique challenges. We are the first generation to be raising kids in the aftermath of the Digital Revolution; therefore, like it or not, we’re pioneers having to navigate so much online content for our kids. So how do we navigate?
Never before have kids had so much media available at their tiny little whims (or gigantic tantrums). We are all still trying to decide if all this exposure is a privilege or a burden. And we’ve all heard about the dangers of too much screen time. Heart-breaking stories of media addiction are someone’s true and painful reality, however, most parents are just trying to find the middle ground. The constant battle with our kids over screen time is something we are all too familiar with. But, before you think this is one more post telling you how to change your entire life because your kid’s brain is frying, hear me say this: You’re doing a good job! Your kids are going to be okay! Simply the fact that you are thinking about this issue is a win. You care and you want great things for your kids. I truly hope that’s your big takeaway from this.
Kids growing up with screens IS happening and necessary for them to grow into the world they will be living in as adults. My 9-year-old could work an iPhone by the time he was 18 months old. His friends are coding. It’s estimated that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 (when my son is entering the workforce) don’t even exist yet.
So, the question is, how do we equip them to be able to mature and self regulate in this new world? How do we help them avoid the pain of working through addiction at the age of 14? And even more… how do we instill in them a desire for true relationships with actual humans? To learn the beauty and growth of true vulnerability outside the digital world! As a mom first, and as a professional in the film industry making content for kids – second, these are the questions I wrestle with. I’ve heard a lot of different theories from psychologists, researchers, pastors, and teachers who are wrestling with the same questions.
What I’ve gathered is that no one knows the answers! Every kid is different and every family is different. And no one has done this before. Some suggest no screens at all until the teen years. Most suggest some sort of moderation and balance and finding what works for your kid and your family. In Part 2 of this blog, I’ll share a few things we have tried as a family in our personal attempts toward finding balance. But first, I’d love to hear your ideas. What are some things your family has done with screen time? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Please share your thoughts below.