We are living in unprecedented times and it feels like crazy-town. Kids and parents alike are working from home, juggling virtual schoolwork, workplace stress, and 8,000 Zoom calls a day. Frankly, we are all doing the best we can.
So, here it is, my mom confession. I’m OK with my kids’ screen time.
My children are fed, safe, home, and loved.
I am letting go of any mom guilt that is thrust upon mamas who aren’t clocking their child’s screen time or making them earn it with a chore chart.
Our household is brimming with 4 teenage girls ages 13, 14, 15, 16 (2 mine, 2 step) who are 100% virtual for school. During the pandemic we have made a lot of sacrifices – but screen time has not been one of them!
Why I’m OK with how much my kids use their phones:
1. They’ve got a lot going on (oh ya, and me too!).
In addition to school, my girls work, participate in activities, socialize with friends, have grandparent time, shuttle back & forth between 2 households, and are generally well adjusted humans (for teenagers….). If in their downtime they are on their phones, I’m ok with that. Plus I am at work all day; I can’t hover from 10 miles away.
2. They get good grades.
These ladies work hard in school with very few complaints or extra help. I’m proud to say they are responsible children. The two oldest have jobs and one is a competitive athlete. If they were sinking into a snap-chat-hole of no return they could not perform these duties.
3. I count Tik Tok as “gym class”.
4. It is their connection to the outside world.
My 16-year old has a best friend who lives in Rochester and they FaceTime every day. During Covid my children have “socialized” more with their friends via screen time than ever before. But they have also organized playdates and bike rides and shopping trips and beach walks with their pals. They are responsible for their own outreach to friends so their phones play a vital role in their lives.
5. I chose to trust myself and my children.
Listen, I can’t do it all. So I made a choice. I am ok with my kids’ screen time because I trust that I have done right by my daughters. We have open conversations about what they are watching (insert daughter’s eye roll when I say “who are you watching?”), who they are talking too and who owns that devise + data plan they are holding. We have used the phones as punishment and reward. We have talked a lot about drama and bullying and fake content. Could I do more, always? But currently it is working for us.
Friends, do I wish our children (and me!) had less screen time in our world? Yes, for sure. But I also wish I was less tired, had more money and my muffin top would magically disappear. So today you can find us at home vegging out on the couch or in bed scrolling, snapping and watching a screen. But we are fed, safe, home and loved.
…and I’m ok with that.
For insight into the teenager perspective, check out The New York Times article: “What Children are Saying About How Much They Use their Phone”.