Starting last September my kids (5 and 3) have been screen-free during the week. They get to watch cartoons in the morning on weekends, and then DS plays about an hour of video games with his dad on weekend mornings as well. Now that I see the amazing changes in my kids since they've been without TV during the week, I'd love to reduce it even further on the weekend or get rid of it altogether. I'm particularly unhappy with the effect video games have on my 5yo. He gets so addicted, even with the small amount he plays. It's the first thing he asks about when he wakes up on weekend mornings. He and his sister get into screaming fights about which show they're watching, and whether they're doing cartoons or video games.
DH is really opposed to limiting media any further. He basically enjoys playing video games with DS and doesn't think it's harmful. I tried buying them a book of father and child woodworking projects. They started a stool in October and it's still not finished. He doesn't see the kids much during the week as he works long hours, and I just think there are so many good things they could be doing together besides playing mario galaxy all morning. Anyway, we were talking about the video game issue and DH brought up he wants to put a computer for the kids in the kitchen. My concern is that having it out like that will lead to the kind of obsession and constant begging we had when the kids watched TV during the week. Even when I made a set routine for the TV- two shows starting at 4:30, DS picks one and DD picks one alternating days who picks first- it still basically ruined our evening. Starting at like 4:15 DS would start begging to start the show early because he was bored. If dinner wasn't ready when the second show was over, they'd ask for more and flip out when I said no (which I ALWAYS did, didn't stop them continuing to ask every time). Now that they don't have it at all, they play outside or read books while I make dinner. The difference is astonishing. I'm dreading introducing another potentially addictive screen to the equation.
DH's thing is that it's important for kids to learn how to use computers. I pointed out that DS uses an iPad and smartboard at school, and suggested maybe he could work with him individually sometimes on DH's computer rather than having one out all the time for the kids' use. DH wants to know when this "technology ban," as he calls it, will be over, i.e. when do I think the kids are old enough to have a computer at their disposal. I told him I honestly don't know, I've never had a 7-year-old, I've only had these kids and I feel that right now they are too young.
I think it would help if there were some research we could look at on kids and computer use. It's so confusing- my daughter attended a waldorf preschool this past year and I learned that they don't believe kids should have screens til at least 12. But in public schools there's a rush to put computers in the hands of preschoolers and kindergartners. Where's some solid, unbiased research baking up either side?
Sorry to be so long-winded, I'm just really upset. Thanks!