Finding the Balance: Screen Time

Just last night, I was about to get up and make Patrick stop messing around with the iPad when I heard him singing along with the alphabet song. Immediately, I calmed down and pushed all the haters regarding screen time aside.

He’s looking at the Starfall ABC app. He’s learning his ABCs and, hopefully, learning some phonics, too. Does he need to be on the iPad all day? Of course not. Do I need to panic about him spending some time on the app? Nope.

All advice, particularly that on the internet, must be taken with a grain of salt.

I’m reminded of my younger brother, who spent a lot of time play Age of Empires and similar games on the computer before he could read. By playing those games, he learned about medieval civilizations and the basics of economics and warfare before he could read about them in a book.

On top of that, he developed computer skills, which are an absolute must-have for success in the modern world.

I’m also reminded of my wonderful Grandmommie, who didn’t really have computer skills. She eventually got a Facebook, and she could write and type letters and send email, but her computer abilities were extremely limited. She didn’t have the instincts to operate that kind of machine. It was interesting to see, really, because she knew enough about the computer that it seemed like she should be able to do more than she could. But it was as if she couldn’t grasp how to figure things out, fix minor issues, or locate things on the computer. The instincts simply weren’t there.

Not so with my kids. They operate that iPad better than I do, and that’s good. Technology is going to continue to advance, and my kids are going to be ready for it.

Pretty soon, I’ll get the older ones started on a typing program.

All this is to say, we’re not one of those families that doesn’t own a TV or let their small children use technology, and I’m glad about it. Letting the kids watch a TV show gives me a chance to do something around the house, and they need those technological skills.

Plus, the Starfall apps are really nice, and Patrick is obviously learning something as he taps the screen too many times and grins whenever he catches my eye.

~ Lee

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