3.18.2007

Screen Time

When I was a child, I was not allowed to watch television during the school week. Harsh and unfair as I felt my parents were, this rule gave me the opportunities to use my imagination to find games to play and nurture a love of reading and writing that I have carried with me to my adult life.

In the home that Dave and I now share, we have televisions in every room except the bathrooms and Dave's office. We each have our own laptop and desktop computer, plus a few others. And I know that there are days on the weekends when we will waste most of the morning and early afternoon hours with the television on, surfing the net. However, we are aware that time spent in front of the screen is not time spent "together," so we try not to let it get out of hand.

We have become a society that relies more and more on passive information and entertainment. Parents brag that their children can "pay attention" to the television for hours uninterrupted or that a handheld video game can act as a baby-sitter for the child.

How do people reach a happy medium? What is an acceptable amount of time to spend on these non-interactive activities in a day? Does it depend on what you are doing during the rest of your time to balance it out? How do you teach a child to reach out and relate to another person when all he or she is adults in front of a screen? I am not preaching... I am asking. What do you think?

7 comments:

Tug said...

I don't think my grandson gets to play his games at all during the school week - there's no time with homework, supper, shower, etc. Weekends I think he can watch cartoons, but just in the morning, then he has to find other toys (non-electronic) or play outside. I'm not sure, but he gets his Nintendo DS for 20 minutes (1/2 hour maybe) in the morning, and again afternoon...Seems to work for them.

Mishka said...

I think most kids play to much on the computer and spend too much time in front of their tvs...they need to get outside, play with other kids, play in their rooms on their own and use their own imaginations sometimes.

We were never entertained by our parents and we were often "sent outside or in our rooms" just to get us out of their hair. I wish more parents were like that now...drives me nuts when I am visiting my friends and the entire time we are "entertaining their kids" as well.

blakbyrd797 said...

Well, considering the question was posed to me via an Internet connection and computer screen...

I agree with mishka, especially the last paragraph. I devoted an entire post to that topic once and it was misconstrued as "I don't like kids and I'm tired of having to be around other people's kids all the time."

Strangely, although I had both a computer and a TV with a video game console in my room when I was growing up, I spent plenty of time reading or drawing or riding my bike outside without adult intervention. Maybe there was never anything good on?

Caroline Bender said...

I know I watched a dangerous amount of television as a kid, and I also know I learned a lot about a lot from doing it. But I remember we played outside more, because nothing was really "on." What's on after school now was our primetime. That's what made the afterschool special so...special. I think I'm with blakbyrd on this. Event TV was still in the minority. But really, kids would rather do something else besides TV; they just need the power of suggestion.

Jen, Fred, Jennifer or Mom said...

It's one of those things that we play by ear. If the kids are getting cranky and we notice they have been sitting in front of electronic devices too long they get kicked outside.

If they come home with a late slip for homework or I get a phone call from a principal then NO electronic devices until I get a good report.

Summer, rainy days I'm more lax, sunny days, they get kicked out about 1oam......just have to do what works for your family. Everyone's different....

Dave Morris said...

Yes, television is the DEVIL.

I'd love to comment further, but TV Land is running a Jeffersons marathon...

Weary Hag said...

haha ... laughing at Dave's comment above.

I don't know that there should be any steadfast rules or regulations on how much "together time" a couple really needs for a healthy relationship.
Ed and I have our own computers in two completely separate locations in the house ... we can't even see one another while we're online. Still, we cherish our little routine of quality surf and read time on our computers.
We each just seem to instinctively know when the other is ready to be a couple again. Neat stuff, really. Maybe it just takes time then falls into place naturally.