Despite the fact that I grew up in a little house with a little black-and-white TV with barely a handful of channels, I logged tons of screen time as a kid. With an active imagination and a lot of alone time, I looked forward to the stories I saw in motion on the boob tube. The characters became old friends, and plot lines were jumping-off points for the adventures I played out in my head or with my friends.
Some might say I play it a little fast and loose with screen time in my home now that I’m a parent, but I’m all about balance. Balance and sanity. And I know I’m not the only one. Here’s what all of us mums know about screen time (whether we’ll admit it or not).
1. I’d bet my life savings that the “experts” who insist on limiting kids’ screen time either don’t have kids, or bribe theirs quite well to keep mum about how much screen time they’re really getting.
2. FACT: It doesn’t count as “screen time” if it’s educational programming.
3. Many of the smartest, most innovative, creative and successful people today watched a butt-load of TV as kids, and still stare at screens for most of their day.
4. I’m not just saying that because many of us watched a butt-load of TV as kids (and still do).
5. If it weren’t for screen time, many of our kids wouldn’t be learning skills that will make them rich enough to put us in fancy old folks’ homes someday.
6. The invention of Netflix was one of the most sacred advancements in parental sanity.
7. The only thing that could top it is if we could watch shows and movies on mobile devices —GREAT GLORY OF HERMES, OUR WORLD CAN NEVER BE IMPROVED UPON NOW THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE.
8. In the time it takes your kids to watch one funny kitten video on your phone, they manage to coat it in both peanut butter and glitter. No, it doesn’t matter that they haven’t been near either of those things in days. It just happens. Please stop asking questions there is no answer to.
9. Taking away your kid’s screen time is as much of a punishment for you as it is the kid. Maybe more. Okay, DEFINITELY more.
10. When you set screen time limits, you mean the kids—not your own.
11. There’s way less arguing if you skip family game night and do a TV binge night instead. (We all like “Regular Show” and “Life With Boys”)
12. Whichever screen belongs to you is the one most likely to get dropped onto a hard surface.
13. You look smarter when you answer random questions kids have no clue about by turning on a show that explains it all in great detail. My kids no longer wonder whether lizards have a predator, for they saw Bear Grylls eat one raw while trying to survive in the wilderness. Then they learned how to build a shelter with some greenery and their own sweat. So, really, I never have to worry about them again.
14. You’d never admit out loud exactly how much screen time your kids get. That schedule is nobody’s business.
15. If you do have screen time limits, they evaporate into a distant memory within 24 hours of any family holiday or school break.
16. Before you had kids, you believed you would never hand one $500 to shut their shouty hole for one Godforsaken minute.
17. After you had kids you do exactly that in the form of an electronic device on a regular basis.
18. You would never stray on your husband, but you have a strong desire to snog (in gratitude) whomever it was that invented streaming programming and its endless entertainment options.
19. There is always one TV and one handheld device in the house that is preferred over all others, and your kids only ever want THAT EXACT ONE at the EXACT SAME TIME, despite all the other perfectly comparable options available.
20. When there is a choice between screen time for the kids or a day drinking for you, you will always choose screen time because it has WAY less calories…and is a bit more socially acceptable.
21. Every minute of fresh air erases five minutes of screen time. IT’S SCIENCE, PEOPLE.
More screen time streaming:
- How to Minimise Your Kids’ Screen Time This Summer (oh the irony!)
- My Motto on Kids and Screen Time: Don’t Worry!
- More Green, Less Screen