Screen time is no longer sitting in-front of a television. It’s a pocket computer that has access to the entire worlds database of information. At this point – when used with purpose, the screen is not a distraction but a tool.
There are two reasons I embrace screen time with my 9 year old son:
1 – Education & Learning (and Teaching)
I often check in with my son when he’s on the iPad. I’ve found him on an app learning how to code a video game; I’ve found him on Wikipedia teaching himself some interesting facts about Ireland because St. Patrick’s day was coming; I’ve found him watching a video on how currency works since the gold standard was abolished. I found this out as he usually gives me a lesson on what he has learned for the day with a big grin on his face because it’s usually about something I didn’t actually know myself.
Literally any question he can think of can be answered with the right app or properly worded google search. There is no information that is unavailable to them.
2 – They Are Inspired To Be a Producer
If your child(ren) is anything like mine, they no longer watch TV because they are completely absorbed in YouTube videos. Originally this was an odd concept to me. Why would they be interested in watching someone play a video game instead of playing one themselves? Kids, just like them, are becoming famous for playing video games or becoming famous for being great at trick basketball shots.
What I’ve learned is that beyond the comedic value of well timed insults or puns, these videos are inspiring our kids to realize anyone is capable of producing similar content. There is an audience for every video uploaded to YouTube. Our kids are watching people just like them who become successful by becoming an expert in their field. I hope they see the effort and practice put into this success. I hope this world of opportunity inspires them.
My motivation for my son is to not just be a consumer but a producer of content. Like a favorite song quote of mine “…If we don’t make it ourselves it isn’t fun, it’s entertainment.” It’s a matter of motivation when using the tool; are they interested in being entertained or inspired?