How old were you when you got your 1st mobile? Hmmm, I was around 24-25 I think. Cut to today, our offsprings sport a smartphone in their hands before they hit the teens. How are we filling in this gap across the generations?
Recently I posted a reel on the Kidsstoppress Instagram page on the screen time doglapan that we engage in. And I loved how it struck a chord with most of you- and thanks for the comments, DMs, shares, and saves, Goes to show that not only the parenting struggles but our parenting mistakes are also common to many and hence relatable.
We ask the kids not to spend hours on the screens- on their phones or TV or iPads, while we continue scrolling at dinner and at bedtime+. We tell them to switch off the screens as soon as it enters the 20th-minute or 30th-minute mark, while our screen time limits hit the sky! Ever wondered, why this hypocrisy?
I am guilty of this, I will confess. I have spent hours on the phone citing work, citing inspirations, citing communication, and sometimes just for that dopamine rush. Who hasn’t?! But the question is what is the image we project about screens to our children? Do we put them on a holy and desirable pedestal that makes them crave for more?
I realised the hypocrisy in me putting an end to my child using screens for fun, while I laughed at fun memes and reels on the phone. I found my focus taking a hit when I juggled between calls, meets, chats, and Instagram scrolls, and I was sermonizing my daughter on how to focus while studying. Inadvertently, are we grooming ourselves to a bee a generation of hypocritical parents?
There’s no rule book on what’s the perfect screen time limit for children. Over the years, I gave up on the search for the “what” and focussed on the “how”. I found what worked for my family. For my daughters. Where we like to explore new apps together. Where we don’t mind the extra screen time, coz we are all gadget freaks. Where we don’t mind sleeping in late on a weekend if it meant a fun movie night. The key, I learned, is to pick my battles and what works for me and my family.
Here are 5 tips that helped me put an end to every day screen time battles:
- Don’t make it too desirable
- Not all screen time is bad
- Offer attractive alternatives
- Define boundaries and stick to them
- Bond with your kids over screen time