#whatwouldyoudo How Much Is Too Much Screen Time?

#whatwouldyoudo How Much Is Too Much Screen Time?

Here it is the debate that will run and run when it comes to our little ones. I am sure people hold starkly opposing opinions and some float about in the middle somewhere. It’s a hot topic when it comes to our children, children of all ages and policing screen time is often the pain of a parent’s life.

It is a problem for parent’s of toddlers to teens. The age range in our house spans from 1 – 16. The 16-year-old is never off of a device of some sort, watching make up tutorial after make up tutorial. Zoella and Tanya Burr are big names in our house. The one and two-year old are also frighteningly tech savvy. Lately I have noticed that the two-year old is ever more engaged in actually watching an episode (or 3) of Peppa Pig as opposed to it being background noise. I take my children to a dance class on a Saturday morning and in between lessons the halls are filled with children from ages 5 – 15 sitting in front of their screens. It is something that literally affects children of all ages.

When you go out to eat you can guarantee that you will see at least 1, but probably a lot more, child sat in front of a screen, whilst parent’s try to enjoy a hot meal. Chances are it’s me. I always go out for a meal armed with iPads, stickers, pens, anything really  that will help get us through the meal with some degree of success i.e. tantrums are minimal, food is eaten and bums are in seats more than 30 seconds.

Zara writing

Out eating…with a pen and paper!

I often wonder how any parent ever got anything done before the iPad or TV. My two often sit at the table with their iPad as I make dinner. They sometimes have some TV time to calm down before bed. They have unlimited access on flights or meals out and I am OK with that. I have found that actually they don’t want it for the entire flight or even at all when we eat out and I am OK with that too.

So what is too much? I mean nobody really wants their children to be sat in front of their iPad or telly all day. It is accepted that getting out and about in the fresh air and running around or indulging in some imaginative play is a preferable activity for our small ones, more stimulating. I accept that and I totally agree. Yet I remember having a conversation with a friend about the hardships of parenting, particularly in the early years. Her mum had said to her, some days you just have to get through it and if a day in front of the telly is how you do then so be it.

This got me thinking. I mentally beat myself up if my children are in front a screen for too long. Seriously I give myself such a hard time about it. I feel like I need to get the paints out as punishment for my sin or whack the oven on and bake the mother of all cakes with my snotty nosed twosome. But why? Both my friend and I agreed that growing up some days, not all days, all we did was watch telly. We’ve grown up to be functioning, successful adults who have gone on to procreate. We manage to get out and about and exercise, we take our children out daily and we can hold down a decent conversation with the rest of them. I don’t think those days of TV slumber ruined us.

What’s more is actually I really enjoy watching TV. I always have. Well, box sets, good TV series, Sex and The City, Orange Is The New Black, Grey’s anatomy. You name it I have watched it.  So has Mr Tammy. We love to sit down in front of a good gripping TV series, Breaking Bad anyone? The Sopranos? Sons of Anarchy? It is nice to sit and enjoy it with someone. That said, it is not all we do. We love to go out, but ya  know, kids. We run, go to the gym, go to work, blog etc etc. Our love of a good series does not stop us functioning.

So with all that in mind, should we really stress about letting our children watch a few episodes of Peppa Pig. If I enjoy it and do it when I can, why shouldn’t they? Providing, like mine, their screen time is mixed up with a healthy dose of other stimulating in and outdoor activity and that they are taught about moderation should I really be giving myself a hard time about it?

I think it is fair to say I am the in the middle category. I am learning to be happy (mostly) for them to have screen time, we need to eat after all, so long as it is in moderation. I would rather they didn’t sit in front of it for a whole day, preferring to take them out of the house somewhere. I also rather they play with toys and their imagination when we are in the house or the garden and that they read books, all of which they do. So if they flick through you tube and are entertained by trains popping out of a Kinder egg whilst I get the dinner sorted then so be it. I am OK with that.

Screen time isn’t the root of all evil and, if like everything, it is moderated then I am OK with it. Admittedly I feel less guilty about letting them sit in front of it after a full day out at Thomas Land but all screens are such a huge part of the world these days I don’t feel able or inclined to ban them completely but that is just me. When they are old enough to decide for themselves I have no doubt they will reach for a device. I would rather start them off now with moderation and supervision as part and parcel of the deal. As they grow older we have a no screens at the dinner table rule and I am mindful of the need for personal communication not virtual (I know ironic from a blogger), but the screen will not be subject to the all out ban in our house and I am OK with that. I am not saying I am right, I may well not be, but for us, it works.

What about you? What do you think is too much screen time? Do you let your children use the iPad or watch telly? Or is it banned? I would love to hear from you.

 

#whatwouldyoudo? How Much Screen Time Is Too Much Screen Time? How much screen time do you let your children have? What is too much? Is there such a thing? Perhaps any is too much. The midfield that is our children and screen time

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18 Comments

  1. June 14, 2017 / 7:34 am

    I’m with you on moderate screen time – there’s no harm in it as long as it’s not excessive. The Popple usually watches about 20-30 minutes a day, usually after nursery during the week or in the morning on weekends. She always wants to watch it with us – not on her own – so it’s a family activity where we talk about what we’re watching and interact with it. There’s no way to avoid interacting with screens these days – Skype/Facetime is how she keeps in touch with her family overseas. #FamilyFun

  2. June 14, 2017 / 7:52 am

    I think I am just like you. My kids have screen time while I get work done, cook, long journeys or at restaurants. And I mostly don’t even feel guilty about it. I realise that some people might judge me, but I’ve seen my children maturing into functioning people for several years now despite generous amounts of screen time. And in fact they’re very tech savvy as a result and that’s a good thing. And I watched ridiculous amounts of TV when I was under the age of 5 and yet I’ve grown up to be a pretty well-functioning adult. #familyfunlinky

  3. June 14, 2017 / 8:20 am

    I think how much is too much very much depends on the child, as with everything else. Bobsy at 18 months is aware of tablets and screens but just likes to hold them and the TV is still background noise.

    The Boy loves his Kindle and Ds. We’ve got an old Wii he enjoys too. But, I notice changes in his behaviour. We used to let him read on his tablet before school if he got up crazy early, but we’ve stopped that as he started making a fuss about going to school (he loves going again now).

    I set parental controls. So he has to read on it for 30 minutes before he can access games, apps or web. Then at weekends, he has 2 and a half hours and weeknights 1 hour. If he chooses his DS instead it’s no tablet. I adjust these time limits depending on his behaviour. I do let him play on the Wii a bit more because we play together and it can be family fun!

    I used to feel bad taking it to restaurants and stuff but now always think my mum would have taken colouring stuff to keep me occupied, it’s not that different!

    #familyfunlinky

  4. I’m with you on this and I don’t really feel guilty for letting my daughter watch TV. I have to confess that I’m quite controlling over what she watches so she only knows of a couple of cartoon series and Disney films. But we will watch them during a quiet morning or after her nap if she’s feeling groggy. She usually mooches around whilst watching them and eventually gets bored and wants to do something else. Ultimately, just like adults, when she’s tired sitting in front of the TV is the best way to get her to be still and to switch off. The tablet can also provide some good educational experiences. Moderation is definitely the key with most things and in my view this is no different. I’ll just keep reviewing it as she gets older and if at some point she needs to have time limits put in then I will do that. Great post! #FamilyFunLinky

  5. June 14, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    Everyone has to do what they have to do! I don’t own a tablet and thankfully meals out take little bribing, he’s happy with a car or two… we didn’t own a tv for the first year of his life and I only let him watch a couple of things so far but he quite easily watches an hour of tv in the day which probably isn’t a lot if you look at others!! Don’t worry 😜

  6. June 14, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    My kids are 18 and 11. They both have smart phones and a tv in their rooms. But, they also like to do things outside. Booey loves doing creative things and a lot of the ideas she gets are from YouTube. I love watching a good series with hubby (Booey loves watching the Flash with us). But it is not all we do.
    #FamilyFun

  7. June 14, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Moderation in all things is my motto, I have written a blog post about children being addicted to tablets, iPads and phones

  8. June 14, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    I am somewhere in between moderation and desperation when it comes to screen time.

    #familyfun

  9. June 15, 2017 / 5:56 am

    I’m the same, as long as they are still spending plenty of time doing other activities and we make an effort to get outside and do things together as a family then I don’t have a problem with screen time. There was a period of time when my son was around 5 and all he wanted to do was play the iPad and every time any other activity was suggested he would get really grumpy. We imposed a limit then and he ‘earned’ screen time by doing other activities such as reading, drawing, playing with other toys, getting outside etc. After a few weeks he learnt to regulate himself and he actually thanked us, so we removed the limits and trusted him. He’s 8 now and we’ve never had any other problems and I actually think the experience taught him a valuable life lesson that he will be able to use in the future.
    #FamilyFunLinky

  10. June 15, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    I love my series and can binge watch 10 episodes straight! However, we travel and move so much now, TV watching has changed. We have a projector which we get out to watch movies and series some evenings but that’s it. I’m so use to not having the option now, that I don’t think about it. I do think TV can be a good thing though and some of what’s produced is amazing. I can’t wait to put on Disney movies. #FamilyFunLinky

  11. June 15, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    I agree with you about moderation – though my moderation ends up being more than some people’s on here…. mind get up so early so can easily watch an hour or so in the morning…. but then we don’ t really have it on much after that until tea time and the girls are pretty good at just taking and leaving the telly. However, the 6 year old is an ADDICT and would watch it all the time if I let him so that is trickier to handle and there can be battles even though I am pretty consistent with the boundaries (morning and teatime). I beat myself up A LOT about his consumption about telly but I think you’re right…. as long as “screen time is mixed up with a healthy dose of other stimulating in and outdoor activity” then I’m trying to be less hard on myself. It’s certainly not easy! I’m with you though – I watched LOADS of telly as a kid and I don’t think it did me too much harm! xx #familyfunlinky

  12. June 16, 2017 / 6:18 am

    I definitely think there is too much debate about screen times – just another thing to feel guilty about as a parent. So long as there is moderation to screen time, I don’t see the issue. Our child doesn’t have very much screen time in general, however that’s something that has been adapted along the way as we noticed even 15 – 30 minutes of screen time can lead to super cranky behaviour after. We allow screen time on the weekend – in moderation – and often times even that isn’t used as we’re busy doing things. We don’t own a TV in our household, and I think that definitely leads to less screen time in general as you can’t put on for background noise etc. So long as you a child isn’t being down in front of a TV all day, every day, I really don’t see the point in the issue of too much screen time. #FamilyFunLinky

  13. June 16, 2017 / 10:57 am

    I let my little one have screen time when I’m busy too. Sometimes I do worry that I allow too much of it… but then I feel okay again when I see how she will always choose playing outside over screen time. It’s just I don’t always have the time to be outside and watch her, so I end up offering her the iPad or Disney Junior instead. I guess we have to go with what works for us, and if everything is in moderation, our littles will be just fine. :) #FamilyFun

  14. June 16, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Maybe an hour a day of TV, computer or video game. I want my kids to learn to be confident with technology as they will need it when they are older #familyfunlinky

  15. June 16, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Personally I think a little bit of screen time is great as long as they do get outside too. My daughters love to play out in the garden particularly as there’s raspberries and strawberries to eat in it now. We also don’t own a tablet but do have a tv. #FamilyFun

  16. June 16, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I totally agree, everything in moderation. To begin with Baby D would stare at the tv for ages but now he barely notices it unless it’s one of his favourite shows. He is actually not interested in the ipad but likes to steal our phones. To be honest if it gets you through the day then it gets the kids through the day! #familyfunlinky

  17. June 20, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    my six year old likes her tablet for playing games but at this point its just another toy that she occassionaly plays with. We have more of a problem with the television. I think I should have been a bit stricter with that when she was younger. #familyfun

  18. June 21, 2017 / 10:22 am

    Ours watch a lot of TV but they don’t have their own tablets or screens…it’s such a hard balance to find #familyfunlinky