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To think to much fuss is made about 'screen time' and that most people must be underestimating their use of it

(106 Posts)
lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 21:23:58

Surely most dc are going to have jobs that are largely screen-based and being familiar with technology from a young age is not going to stand in their way and can only be beneficial.

And it must depend on what they are doing on said screens - Wii is interactive, can be played with others and involves movement (I am totally out of breath after the Let it go dance sequence). How bad can it be? Ds2 would be on it all day if we let him, but he has learnt several of the dance routines and can perform them without the music - it's a skill, no? I am a bit of a technophobe myself so learning with my dc really and have little knowledge of the other stuff that's out there, but I'm sure it all develops skills of some sort or another.

Is my ds1 spending hours hitting a ball against a wall really so much more worthy than the other boy doing his dance routines just because the latter involves a screen? I know as parents we need to encourage our dc to have a range of interests - mine do 2-3 activities each and we do outings quite often, as well as boardgames, reading, craft for ds2, musical instrument learning for ds1 etc. Is it really so bad if most of their 'free non-parental involvement time' is spent on screens?

I seem to remember a fair few hand-wringing reports over the years about children watching 3 hours of tv a day, but if they are up for 12 hours and doing other stuff the rest of the time, is that really so much?

What do others, honestly, do?

lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 21:24:20

too blush

Caronaim Sat 31-Jan-15 21:25:58


As a teacher we see the negative effects on behaviour, concentration and cognitive development.

Caronaim Sat 31-Jan-15 21:26:13

also on social communication

lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 21:30:16

I'm a teacher too. Are you in Primary, if you don't mind me asking? I don't mean this to sound aggressive, but how can you be sure that the problems you mention are caused by too much screen-time? As a secondary school teacher, I see plenty of the problems you mention, and they can usually be traced to difficult home lives. I wouldn't know about the amount of screen-time these children get compared to children who don't display these behaviours.

Treaclepot Sat 31-Jan-15 21:31:26

In moderation it brilliant, but in excess (asitis in most households) it is contributingdirectly to obesity, mental health issues, and the ability to actualky hold a conversationfor any length of time.

MrsTawdry Sat 31-Jan-15 21:32:15

Having a job which is screen based is not the same as watching hours of it when your brain development is not complete.

My DC have one hour of TV per day and on Fridays they can watch a film. The older DD has a tablet and can use it for skyping her mates...she's only ten though and has no social media yet. She does play a little Animal Jam but if she chooses that then there's no hour of television in's one or the other.

I used to allow more and since I cracked down a bit they sleep MUCH better

Treaclepot Sat 31-Jan-15 21:33:55

Not a teacher just an adult who can read scientific evidence and can remember the days before the internet.

theeternalstudent Sat 31-Jan-15 21:40:56

DD and I watch too much TV according to reports. It's always on in the background when we are at home. I do worry about the addiction side of it.

However, DD goes to breakfast club, ASC, clubs, activities and endless birthday parties. She is doing really well at school and has no problems socialising and concentrating. When we're it home it's what we do to relax. Guess what I worry about is that connection between relaxing/downtime and being at home.

Perhaps there is also a connection between tv time and whether there are other things going on too. Guess what I'm saying is that it's not just as easy as too much tv time = difficult child who may have developmental problems, social problems and concentration difficulties.

lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 21:43:07

Ok, but whenever I have researched this it turns out that the studies are inconclusive/ flawed in some way/contradictory...

Don't we all just have 'gut feeling' that we should be limiting screen time, and we feel slovenly if we don't, but is there really any evidence that it is harmful in the amounts most of us probably worry about - allowing a couple of hours a day, instead of having a strict one-hour-only rule.

Of course there are extreme cases where very young children are 'dumped' in front of screens for hours on end, but in settings like that isn't it true that, sadly, if it wasn't screens it would be something else?

southeastastra Sat 31-Jan-15 21:45:37

i don't really buy this all screen play time is detrimental either. i also remember the days before the internet but had hours of fun playing with my spectrum 48.

everything in moderation

AuntieStella Sat 31-Jan-15 21:55:43

Unless/until there are plentiful vacancies for professional Minecrafters, I don't quite agree that childhood screen time is necessarily going to equip anyone for a tech-based career.

MrsTawdry Sat 31-Jan-15 21:56:43

Lecce the only proof I have is that my children are better behaved with screen time limited. When they have more than an hour a day they can't wind down and sometimes have nightmares even when watching mild stuff. Without the screen they sleep well and play more creatively.

ANewMein2015 Sat 31-Jan-15 22:02:01

Auntie - there's a homeschooler (can't remember who) on here who argues spending most of the day playing minecraft is a great preparation for life...

lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 22:02:54

Yeah, I didn't man it quite as simplistically as that. I just think that some of the skills must surely be transferable, and that the world has changed now and the opportunities afforded to children by technology are huge.

Drawing is a wonderful thing and my ds2 loves to do it and does so frequently. If he also enjoys designing cards on his tablet, isn't that equally as creative an activity? Should I refuse to allow it if he has already been on the wii for a hour that day? If he becomes a designer of some sort, then a significant part of his job will be screen-based. And that is far more likely an outcome than his becoming an artist. Not that I think the worth of activities should be decided by their connection to potential careers, just making a point.

MrsTawdry Sat 31-Jan-15 22:07:43

Lecce I get what you're saying and I a point. I educate my DC about the internet and plan to try to get them into some coding classes when the older one is a bit bigger/less busy with other classes. I also teach them about social media and about ecommerce.

I work online...100% of my income is earned via the internet and I teach them all I know...but I won't let them spend hours on the computer/tablet/watching tv whilst their brains are still forming.

I would rather they engaged physically and verbally.

HubertCumberdale Sat 31-Jan-15 22:08:12

I work in the videogame industry.
As with any type of media, it's silly to talk about it in such broad terms. It depends on what sort of games kids are playing, and how the parents utilise games in relation to other aspects of learning.
And you may not become a professional Minecrafter, but you will prob have the basic skills to pursue CAD, architecture, design etc.
My greatest hope is that parents who have kids that love gaming encourage them to explore creating their own games. Coding skills will be really valued and a great career to get in to.

HubertCumberdale Sat 31-Jan-15 22:10:48

If you want to cooperative game that your DCs can play together whilst developing language and communication skills, you should download Spaceteam. It's excellent (and free).

YouTheCat Sat 31-Jan-15 22:14:13

Children who play violent games (or even just really frustrating ones) can display violent behaviour. I've seen it a lot.

I don't see what harm playing a dancing game does, or another age appropriate game for that matter.

I never limited dd's screen time. She'll be starting an applied computing degree this year so I don't think it's done her any harm.

Lottapianos Sat 31-Jan-15 22:17:16

Not nearly enough is made of the effects of screen time on young children's development if you ask me. Completely agree with what Caronaim wrote. But parents find them terribly convenient so no doubt their use will continue and increase

lecce Sat 31-Jan-15 22:24:17

Not nearly enough is made of the effects of screen time on young children's development if you ask me. But what do you even mean by that? The scientific research should be leading our views on this imo. Have been googling this evening and there is nothing conclusive out there that I have found, not until you get to 3+ hours a day.

HubertCumberdale Sat 31-Jan-15 22:24:35

Children certainly shouldn't be playing violent, or any age inappropriate games. The same way they shouldn't be reading inappropriate books or watching violent films.
It's baffling that parents can be strict with films and tv, but not with games.
There is no hard evidence that (appropriate) games have any negative effects on children's behaviour. They promote problem solving, linear thinking, technical skill, coordination, cooperative play, and a whole bunch of other skills. And then there are the artistic and physical elements of non traditional gaming.
There is a lot of research showing that it can have very positive effects on children with autism and other developmental challenges.

mindifidont Sat 31-Jan-15 22:27:33

I agree with you lecce.

My DC's don't get much screen tint during the week as they haven't got time to, but spend a good few hours at the weekend on various devices.

Must of the time they're chatting yo their school friends whilst playing minecraft, Fifa or something similar. I can't see it doing any harm, it's s way of socialising.

And I can definitely see how it will prepare them for future careers.

mindifidont Sat 31-Jan-15 22:28:16

Gosh, not sure what happened to my spelling there!

catrin Sat 31-Jan-15 22:40:25

I am an SEN teacher.
I don't even know where to begin!

Neurotypical mainstream 3 year olds have not got the concentration to sit through a story read to them. Stories bore them. Parents boast how their 18 month olds can work the remote and the iPhone. Technological advances have been the death knell of literacy in this generation for many children. It is noticeable that children who have parents who read, value literacy, speak to them and generally interact with them have better results all round - increased social emotional results, general knowledge etc. Never, ever think that the TV is an adequate substitute for parenting. It is a childminder and a poor one at that.

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