technology vs play

Over the years, I've thought about screen time a lot. I have two sons, they love technology.  I have a husband who works in the computer industry.  We have computers, tablets, cellphones, tvs, mp3 players.... but, we also have books, board games, puzzles, arts and craft items, and so much more.

When we go to the pediatrician one of the first things she asks me is how much screen time do the boys get on a regular basis.  My answer, less than most.  During the school year, they do not get technology during the school week, unless it is something they need for a project.  We then also limit it on the weekend.  Even during the summer we limit it.

As a teacher, we are pushed to have the kids use more and more technology during their learning.  For me this is a double edged sword.  I understand that there is so much we can do with technology, but isn't it more important for children to explore knowledge than to watch it?  Wouldn't it be better to have them watch a real caterpillar change into a butterfly than see it on the screen?  Isn't it better to use multilink cubes to learn to add than use a computer program?  Is it better to have an actual book to hold in their hands than watch a book read on the computer?  Don't get me wrong, I think there needs to be a balance.

Balance... that seems to be what is missing or skewed.  Why are people allowing their children to sit and use technology for hours on hours?  I am amazed every year by the number of children who have never played an actual board game.  The number of parents who say they can't find time to read, but then hear the child talking about playing this game or that game on their tablet.  My children read all the time. They read before bed, they read in the car, they read in their rooms.  They also play with toys, the play board games, they play sports, they play.

We don't know the effects that this increased screened time will have on children, on generations, on our future.  Think about what you loved doing as a child... is your child doing anything like this?  If not... why?


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