Author: Rob Prior
Over the last year, I have developed a dislike of the phrase “Screen Time” and I think that we need to abandon it in favour of something more progressive and nuanced.
Screen Time is a reductive phrase that assumes that all uses of a screen are of the same value. There are so many different digital activities that this phrase lumps into one amorphous blob. This only serves to demonise these activities and make the phrase negative from the outset. Should speaking to a relative or friend through a digital device be placed in the same category as passively watching content on a streaming site for example?
Also, far too often it becomes limited to a discussion about the second word in the phrase - time. In our household at least this is usually a battle of wills between someone wanting more time and someone wanting the digital activity to end for some other reason. This means digital devices can be a source of frustration and conflict that is unneeded in already busy family lives.
Although we have not yet found a perfect solution, we have begun to work on the idea that our children need to request permission for specific activities, giving their reasoning for wanting to do them and an amount of time that they think that they will need to complete the activity. Although this sounds a little over the top, we hope it will subtly transform the discussions that we have and make them more productive, less conflicting and give the children more ownership over managing their own time.