It seems like every other day, a new article pops up on my newsfeed about how bad screen time is and how we’re all addicted and have no hope for the future. Though I agree that too much can be a bad thing when it interferes with normal life, I think technology still does more good than harm.
I was one of those kids who read the encyclopedia for fun. Now, I can ask my phone what I want and get an immediate answer. I can’t count all the things I’ve learned this way.
At school, my kids do programs with both reading and math. They find them so fun that they want to keep working on the programs at home. I liked school, but I don’t remember being that motivated to do my homework.
My daughter didn’t have the opportunity to do preschool with kids in the neighborhood like her brothers, so I enrolled her in an online preschool. In only 15 minutes a day, she was able to learn all her letters while having lots of fun.
My parents live in North Carolina, and my husband’s parents live in Idaho. Thanks to technology, we video chat every week. My kids know their grandparents even though they don’t see them every day.
My husband and I have lived in several states now, and thanks to social media, we know what our friends are up to. Though social media has its flaws, I think being in contact with so many people is a huge blessing.
Of course there are other ways to have fun without technology. For my kids, that often involves being outside playing with friends. They spend hours playing outside in the summer, but it’s simply not possible in the winter. Frigid days often require more screen time to keep everyone happy.
When I’ve had a long day, all I want is to relax with the TV on. If I tried to be productive for every hour of the day, I’d definitely be burned out. Not all of our entertainment is pure fluff, either. Our family has learned a lot from Mythbusters, Planet Earth, and the Magic School Bus.
Family history? Check. Reading the scriptures? Check. Paying the bills? Check, and I can do all of these on my phone. I can also find new recipes (with reviews!), get free sewing patterns, or shop for groceries. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t have to be at home either because my phone goes everywhere with me. I can’t count how much time and paper it’s saved me over the years.
Isn’t it great that phones have pretty good cameras now? Thanks to that, the cloud, and free photo books every 6 months, I’ll never have to worry about my house burning down and losing all our memories. If you ever think pictures are pointless, try looking for a photo of someone born before 1800. They don’t exist, and that is sad!
I don’t pay my kids for regular chores like cleaning their rooms or unloading the dishwasher, but when it comes to the more unpleasant or lengthy ones, screen time works great as a payment. The boys get to play video games 3 days a week. For the other days of the week (excluding Sunday), they can earn 30 minute chunks of video games by doing special chores. Our yard actually got weeded this year! It was a win-win situation for everyone.
When I take a shower, I put on a movie for the 2- and 6-year-old. The few times I’ve skipped this, I returned to a giant mess of some sort. It’s worth it to use screens as babysitters sometimes if it means keeping your sanity.
We probably get “too much” screen time, but we still have our limits.
- As I mentioned before, the boys play video games every other day.
- We try not to use any screens during meals.
- The kids don’t have their own devices yet. They have to ask to use the TV or computer.
- When we are traveling, we let the kids have as much screen time as possible to avoid fighting and boredom. It makes a better trip for everyone.
- We do one movie night a week with the whole family (and popcorn, of course).
Want to read more about the benefits of screen time? There are lots of good articles available! Technology doesn’t take over your life unless you let it.