To App or not to App?

It seems like everywhere I look on the internet lately, I am bombarded with articles talking about studies that too much screen time is rotting our kids’ brains.  Or really good for them.  Or making them unhappy.  Or only good in certain increments, or only if you actually are sitting with your kid while you use them.  Or the best apps to make your kids smarter.  Who is right?  Is this kind of like the “eggs are good, eggs are bad, no only egg yolks are bad, no all eggs are bad, wait, eggs are ok in moderation” thing again?  I think at this point only time will tell.

So until some more long-term, definitive, large-group studies come out, I think I’m going to have to take all this screen-time advice with a grain of salt, and exercise my usual mantra of “everything in moderation.”  Also, I should note that I don’t think our family would ever, ever survive a long trip together without the iPad.  I’m pretty sure the iPad saved both lives and our sanity during long airport delays last Christmas, and on our last cross-country drive.  This means I’m already pretty biased towards the ‘pro’-screen camp.  I’m also a little biased because my kid had zero interest in working on her letters until the “Learn to Write with Mister Pencil” app turned her into a little letter-writing fiend overnight.  But I’m always willing to admit I’m wrong when faced with overwhelming scientific evidence!  It’s just not anywhere near overwhelming in either direction yet.

What are your policies on kids and screen time?  Are you a big fan of educational apps?  Relieved to find time to make dinner when your kid is absorbed in an episode of Caillou?  Or worried about them becoming too absorbed in electronics and missing the wonderful world around them?

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2 Comments

Filed under Geek parenting resources, Opinion pieces

2 responses to “To App or not to App?

  1. Heidi

    We used to let our son use his iphone (a hand-me-down after I got a new iphone) and video games whenever he wanted, then the fits started and we instituted the rule of no games (phone, wii, or DS) on school nights and only 1 hour at a time on the weekends. At first it was rough because he was addicted, but now he regulates himself! We don’t even have to really set the timer anymore because he gets bored with it after an hour. I will say the educational apps have taught him A LOT but I do wonder if allowing him to play those at such a young age contributed to his fine and gross motor skill delays.

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    • Yikes! I will have to watch out for the addiction thing. We let our kiddo use the ipad a lot, but it’s officially dad’s school one so she only gets it when he’s not using it. I also let her use my iphone and kindle but again… only when I’m not using them! So I guess our regulating is based on when we’re willing to share our toys with her! 🙂

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