This Thanksgiving was an early Christmas at our house for the grandsons. While Paul and Miles could wait until December 25th, Grandpa couldn't. Last night they opened their gifts - new iPads.
For nearly three years, the boys have fought over using my iPad. They love the games, of course. But I also see how many other educational niches these devices can fill. So, the iPads came with strings.
First, the "screen time" limit* that Mom and Dad set applies to the iPads as well as other screens in your house, I told the boys. Second, I asked them to be thoughtful about how they spend their time with these powerful, addictive tools. "Is what you are doing on the iPad making you smarter?" To help them remember to occasionally reflect on what their use, the photo below is their lock screen background ...
I am not real sure it will do a lot of good, but it is an attempt.
These bright boys will live their entire lives surrounded by electronic tools and temptations. Denying access is an unrealistic solution. Access accompanied by the excellent parenting they get from my daughter and son-in-law is their best and only chance to they have to learn some self-discipline and common sense.
* Will the definition of "screen time" in families need to become more nuanced? Traditionally it has been watching TV or movies and playing video games - media consumption. But should reading an e-book count as "screen time"? Writing a paper or creating a video for a school assignment? Practicing math facts with a game? Building an imaginary world using Minecraft? Texting to Grandpa? Gets tricky.