Joel Bercardin wrote:First I’ll say, Elle, that I agree with your viewpoint as you’ve explained it. I could elaborate, but I think that’s not necessary.
I’ve seen your posts on various threads, and you may have explained your situation. Are you a single parent? Or, do you have a significant other who makes/builds? The reason I ask is that I remember starting to be interested in bicycle mechanics, sawing & pounding nails into lumber, and all that sort of thing around age seven. With many boys this not a bad thing to begin to encourage at that age… make or fix something instead of watching a screen. Because it can begin, even in a small way, and can become (pardon any pun) a constructive stream in a boy’s life.
Hopng these comments don’t seem irrelevant.
I’ve seen Youtubes of 16 year old boys who have completed a tiny house on their own, because someone started teaching them woodworking, in a safe manner, when they were younger. That’s something to be much prouder of, as a teenage guy, than being skilled at online gaming.
Another thing I remember doing at around age seven was taking apart a mechanical clock — of the sort that you can usually find in fair abundance at places like thrift stores. I think I just needed a screwdriver to do that. I don’t believe I was able to put it back together, but the exploration fascinated me. Just some thoughts.
Nicole Alderman wrote:This subject hits close to home for me. I've got a 2 and 5 year old. Back in college (like 2004), I read a lot of studies about the affects of screens upon the developing mind. Back then, people were only really writing about TV--the internet hadn't become the monster that it is now. But, the big problems with screens were
(1) physical inactivity
(2) lack of interaction--TV is very passive. There person only receives info. There's no back-and-forth like in a conversation.
(4) the constant changes that act as dopamine hits and reduce attention spans. Watch a kid's show and count how many times in a given minute the camera changes to a new shot. It's usually more than once per second! That's not natural for a child's brain.
The internet has taken the downsides of TV and magnified them. Kids are still inactive, and with autoplay; they are still very passive; it's ridiculously easy to run across violent videos/images; and the constant changes are even more magnified. You scroll through facebook and there's constantly new info/statuses that aren't connected in any logical sense. It's just one new thing after another, with additional dopamine hits from likes/comments.
Since I knew screens were bad, we tried really hard to limit them for our kids. I did better with my son than with my daughter. I think I made it to pretty much 18 months without him watching any screens, and when I started letting him see things, it was THE SAME VIDEO OVER AND OVER. That way his brain could actually process the info and make sense of it. So he watched the same 15 minutes of Frozen every day, while I used the bathroom. And as he got older, he got a bit more, but it was largely informational videos on youtube, and he watched those over and over. It helped that we had limited data on our satellite Internet, so we tried hard to not use it up.
But, I couldn't do nearly as well with my daughter. Since my son was watching videos, she saw them. And I still feel like an utter failure for that. And, my husband decided about the time that she was 1 that video games were awesome to play with my son. So he'd play Hot Wheels game on the old gamecube for half an hour+ every day with my son, to my utter horror. And now they watch videos together on youtube. So some days they'll spend more than 2 hours in front of screens. And when I try to drag my son away, he acts like an addict.
Thankfully, my daughter is generally not as interested in screens as my son, and gets bored easily. She had a few that she liked, so she watched Sir Patrick Stewart's Country Classics over and over and over again, while I tried to cook dinner or when she was sick (I view screens as drugs, and do use them when my kids are sick to keep them calm and restful so they can heal).
I'm grateful we don't have cellphones or Ipads (we have one of the latter, but it's not connected to the internet, and my son usually just used it to take pictures and video after video of himself.) And, since we only have one computer, it really helps from the kids getting to sit and surf like they can on an ipad or cellphone.
But, it's SO HARD. We've only done as well as we have because we don't have TV service, or mobile devices. But even just a TV for video games and computer, and we're spending a lot of time at screens wasting out minds away when we could be playing, imagining, building, learning.
It's also really hard to keep the kids from screens because, as a parent, you want a break. Zoning out in front of a computer is a nice break...but then the kids zone out with you. My husband wants to zone out and bond over playing video games and watching car races on youtube, and I want to zone out and scroll through facebook or watch an informational video on youtube, but whenever we do these things, the kids are sucked into the computer, too.
It's hard. So very hard.