You parents who complain about 'screen-time limits' have it easy

You parents who complain about 'screen-time limits' have it easy

Children and Technology

You parents who complain about 'screen-time limits' have it easy


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Imagine you’re enjoying a drink at a bar, or sitting by the pool, or catching your breath between sets on an exercise bench, and a nearby stranger engages you in small talk.

If you’re a parent, the topic of kids often come up after weather. And when kids come up, their ages follow. And when I mention mine is 22, I hear this:

You’re so lucky you never had to deal with your child mesmerized by so many screens.

They’re right; I didn’t have to deal with screens. My son came of age before smartphones, and even then he rarely sat in front of the TV more than an hour or so. (Today, of course, he brings his phone everywhere, and can binge-watch an entire Netflix series in a day.)

But lucky? Hardly.

I would have been a  bad parent, probably

What kid entertainment used to look like. Photo courtesy of Scott Craven

When Bryson was 3, one of his favorite things was going to the park. In July. At noon. For hours. If Steve Jobs had introduced the iPad by then, I would have fired up a game or movie as soon as my boy made the slightest motion to go outside.

“Look at the pretty colors,” I would have said, putting it in his tiny hands. “Sit down. Enjoy.”

Would that make me a bad parent? Probably. What’s your point?

What a sucker we all were

I’ve seen kids lost in screens at the barber shop, the dentist’s waiting room, at any number of restaurants. In the old days, I had to constantly correct my son’s behavior in such boredom-inducing environments, hoping to raise a well-rounded individual who socialized well with others.

What a sucker we all were. Who needs to parent when Apple and Samsung have absolutely nailed it?

Those screen-intensive kids are becoming screen-intensive adults. At the gym, for example, more people than not are focused on phones while on treadmills or resting between sets.

Which makes them far less likely to engage me in small talk when I’m trying to catch my breath. It’s a win-win.

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