Monday, July 16, 2012

Limiting Screen Time

You can say it, I'm the biggest killjoy that ever lived. I made a new policy in our house to control or limit the amount of time the kids spend on digital media, like computers or any hand held device that's lying around.  It's digital radar, they way they find the Pod or Pad resting on a counter and seize it.

When I learn that kids 0 to 8 spend more than 2 hours per day on screens compared to 30 minutes reading, I think my concerns about screen time transplanting reading time are justified.  Never have there been so many ways to avoid picking up a good book.

I got so fed up with the kids grabbing a laptop or device and hiding away for hours, I decided to confiscate all the floating laptops in our house (4) and put them all in a dining room cabinet. I made a binder with sign-out sheets like the one above. Each child gets 20 minutes per day on a computer or gadget.  They sign in and out and list what they're doing.  If they go egregiously overtime, they skip the computer the next day.

We've also increased the trips to the library this summer. I find this is the best way to engage our children with books, lots of them.  They bring them home to contine reading.  I hope this policy works; I don't want to be punitive or make reading seem like a forced activity.  Early results in our house are promising. After some grumbling and complaining, I see the kids engaged with books again, finishing them, and trading them in for more. 
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1 comment:

Kate said...

Michelle, this will work until they need to completely rely on electronics to get their schoolwork done. Once homework gets posted on the web, and they're expected to participate in online chats, just give it up...unless you make one room the homework/electronics room. My daugher (almost 21) doesn't use a Kindle or iPad for reading/making notes & comments, but I think she may be the last generation that still types out and prints out her papers.