It’s Screen Free Week, the one week of the year dedicated to turning off our beloved electronic media devices – TVs, computers, smart phones and tablets – which have become such a huge part of our life. Whether you’re addicted to your smart phone or not, let’s face it, most of us at least know someone who is!
But the real screen-time issue is with children, especially the little ones! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under age 2, and less than 2 hours per day for older children. Yet, children are getting about twice that. Research over the years tells us that screen media in the younger years causes a number of issues down the road, including childhood obesity, sleep disturbances, attention span issues, and aggression. Click here for more information.
At least turn off the TV this week, and you’ll be amazed at how much extra quality time you have to spend with your family! Plus, it’s a good step towards setting new screen time rules in your home, which you’ll want to do after this week!
Even screen time is limited in the White House! Mrs. Obama told The Stir’s Tracy Odell they “run a tight ship when it comes to technology”. Here’s what she had to say about screen time in the White House.
“We have rules about it. The girls have limited television and screen time — none during the week unless it’s school-related, because now kids are doing these video chat study groups. And when they’re doing that, I always go in their room to make sure they’re actually talking about school … Kids, instead of how we used to call on the phone and talk about homework, they get on the computer now and chat. So I don’t want to interfere with that, so I monitor with the teacher to make sure that the kids who were studying together are actually — that then they’re studying in a way that’s helpful.”
But finding a screen-time rule that actually worked took some trial and error! She explains:
“I tried this thing where they can earn an hour during the week if they got everything done. But what was happening is that they’d claim their hour on Monday. And I’m like, why are you watching TV on Monday? Well, I was like, you’re supposed to earn that hour. So I just said forget that. So the sort of incentive model didn’t work. And then they get two hours Friday, three Saturday, two Sunday.”
Just because the weekend rolls around doesn’t mean they are free to sit in front of the TV or computer all day long, either.
“If something hasn’t gotten done, all that is gone. I mean, as I tell my kids, the computer and the TV mean nothing to us. So that’s the first thing that goes, is you just don’t need any of that. So this — they know that this is a privilege that we don’t value deeply. So it will be taken away very quickly and happily. Give us an excuse to take it away. And it will be taken away. At the drop of a hat — you look funny, you’re unhappy, you’re whining a little bit too much. That’s the first thing that goes. Right, don’t roll your eyes.”
Mrs. Obama is one strict lady!