Don’t spare this ROD (Part 1)
Posted December 20, 2016on:
Readings news articles like No screens, please make me uneasy. Why?
- Newspapers like that one still have considerable reach.
- Some people still consider what newspapers publish more valid than other sources (check Pew Research, comScore, or other data crunchers if you do not believe me).
- The authors of such articles like to use “research says…” or “studies have shown…”, but not actually cite the sources.
- Such newspapers pander to what is popular instead of what is progressive.
- Some views, particularly this one about screen time, suffer from cherry picking.
Consider the opening salvo of unoriginal statements:
- At the dining table “no one speaks to each other”
- “21st century parenting dilemma”
- Kids are “addicted to gadgets”
The piece seemed to be written from a template shaped by anti-TV and mobile screen articles before it.
It also tried to look balanced, but it is not. It cannot when its leading question was “How do we get children away from the various screens in our lives?”
The article avoided strike-a-balance from the template. It was clearly about rationales, rules, limits, varied activities with family and friends, and being a role model for kids.
Taken outside the context of an anti-screen time article, there is nothing wrong with those guidelines. These should be part of parenting tests if there are any. But the adults who wrote them conveniently forgot how they might have tried to read books or comics under the blanket with a torchlight.
The screen is not the issue. Choosing to do something more interesting, not knowing how to prioritise, or just plain bad manners is.
So let us not spoil the child by sparing this ROD:
- Read widely and openly about the issue of “screen time” (I share my findings here).
- Observe your kids with eyes, ears, and empathy. They are simply using the media and technology available to them just as you did with yours.
- Demonstrate with care and by example. Model expected behaviour and timeless values. Offer wisdoms, not judgement.