Monday, October 28, 2013

Screen time and missing it all.

I have always struggled with the work/life balance, mostly because I've been self-employed since I was 22. As my grandfather once told me, "At the end of every gig, you are unemployed." Laptops and smartphones are the saviors of the self-employed, allowing us to always be available for work, whatever the gig. For me, who hasn't released any new art lately, it's important that I stay active on social media or my blog, lest you all forget who I am.

I say all this because I find it very challenging to
limit my own screen time. We made a strict choice to not allow our boy any screen time (with the exception of Skyping with his grandparents). We have caved in slightly, and we now allow him to play some interactive games on my dad's iPad only if my dad is with him, interacting with him. I'm sure at some point we'll relent and let him watch Elmo or Shrek (I've tried this twice in exhasparation, but he's not interested -- that's what I get for being so strict, I guess), but I'm going to try to avoid it as much as possible.


Well, when he's engaging with a screen, it means he's not engaging with a person. And we want him to engage with people. It's better for communication, and research shows that they can't learn anything from screens until they are at least two.

But it's no good to keep him away from screens if all the adults he sees are constantly on their phones rather than interacting with him.

This is a rather dramatic post called "How to Miss a Childhood," but it did make me think. And I think you should read it -- you who have a child or who interact with a child at all. It doesn't say anything you don't all already know, but it does say it.

I don't want my kid to see screens attached to me at all times. I don't want to teach him that. I want to teach him that it's important to have time for your family and to be present with each other. When he is grown and has a job and a family, I want him to pay attention to his family rather than his email. I must start with that.

And so, I'm attempting to put the phone (with the ringer on, but with notifications off) in the old place where a telephone used to go. It shall stay there, unless I need to make a phone call or unless the phone rings. If I'm available, I shall answer it. (Actually, who am I kidding? I won't answer the phone. I only respond to texts nowadays. Sorry.) My computer will go in the office, where it shall remain unless I am working. If I hear an email come in, or a text, I will try to ignore it.

If I'm involved in a mean game of trucks, I'll keep truckin'.

Today's blog written during the wee boy's morning nap because I don't want to miss anything else.

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