It seems like once or twice a month, a mum in my mummy group will pose the question, "How much screen time do you allow your children?" It seems like this is a hot topic in an age when iPads and Kindles, laptops and notebooks, tablets and smartphones fill our lives.
Most of the answers follow a theme: thirty minutes earned by reading real books or doing chores, no screens on school nights, no screens ever. There's usually a quote by the AAP and there's always one or two mums expressing disbelief over anyone who would ever allow their children more than the recommended screen time.
And then there's me.
Growing up, I never heard the phrase "screen time". Granted, my screens were limited to a television that only showed cartoons on Saturday mornings, sometimes Sundays, and for an hour or two after school. Computers were new and only at school. We did have a Nintendo and I remember playing Mario Brothers until midnight with my sisters. But I also remember playing outside, helping my parents in the garden, spending hours reading books, creating crayon art with my mum, and riding our bikes to the river to play on the beach.
I'm hoping to recreate that idea with my own children. I don't put time limits on their "screen time". In our family, as long as there's balance, we don't worry. While there are more screens available to them, I also realise those screens are going to be an integral part of their daily life as more and more schools switch to the technology available to teach their classes. My son is as likely to a downloaded copy of the Magic Tree House as he is to read a paperback version.
And, to be honest, there's something amazingly fun about a movie marathon, a big bowl of popcorn, and my two kids snuggled under a knitted throw on the couch. I don't want to have a limit on that.
What do you think about screen time?