If you are a parent today, the the question how to win the internet struggle with your child is real. We cannot avoid it, we cannot ignore it, what we must do is create balance for our children and for ourselves. Which is why I love this letter a mum shared with her child as they struggled to find the right balance when it comes to screen time, the use of the internet and all that the virtual world offers.
My dear child,
To begin, I want to be clear that I am not standing on the other side of you, with me as the superior and you as the inferior one. We are on a wonderful adventure together and I have been assigned the role of parent, which means I not only care for your basic needs of food and shelter. But I also protect you from violent invasive influences that affect your well-being.
When you were little we talked a lot about stranger danger and today, one of the greatest threats to your well-being is screen time. I’m not standing on the other side of you because it’s a concern for me too. It is something I need to keep in check on a daily basis, and for that reason, I’m on your side, sharing your same struggles to remain balanced in this world of distractions.
I know how captivating the internet is, having infinite amounts of information and updates on celebrities’ lives at your fingertips. I agree that social media can provide us with a sense of connectedness in an often-isolating, lonely world, I get that. But I also know that the mind is drawn to the screen like bees to honey. We know that if given the choice, we humans will choose passive entertainment versus active involvement. This is the fight we are faced with.
From a health perspective, we know that the body needs a good dose of vitamin D each day for proper bone growth, for fighting viruses and for keeping your mood happy. It is best absorbed through direct sunlight. We also know that the blue light produced from screens (and LED lights); deplete our immune systems and throw off our natural awake-sleep rhythm.
This is why I get particularly upset when you’re on the screen and the sun is shining brightly. Not to mention the amazing benefits of being outside in fresh air versus tucked indoors in your room.
When you spend your time on the screen, you’re not cultivating social skills and physical abilities that are best learned at a young age, and you can’t get these formative years back! The reality is, kids who are actively living their lives will be at a greater advantage when they become adults. This is because they will have developed the necessary life skills such as socialisation and self-discipline to thrive and shine.
My goal is to come to an agreement on a sweet spot, where you have enough screen time to feel connected, well informed and yes, entertained. But not to the point where you lose your motivation to create your own life.
I realize that your screen time needs may change over time, so I’m suggesting that we create a six-month agreement. Knowing we can make revisions as we grow together; (key word grow together, not apart, which screen time causes people to do).
You may well become addicted to the screen but not on my watch!
(Letter shared via thechronicleherald)
After this mum shared this letter with her child, they both came up with a solution that worked for them. It included how much time they spend online and how much quality time they spend doing other things. The truth is parents need as much help as children do. Parents can get lost in the virtual world while preaching “too much screen time is bad”. Yet all your child sees you doing is spending time non-stop connected to your smart phone. Remember children do what you do not what you say. [READ: What Type of Digital Parent Are You]
Hopefully this letter will encourage you to come up with your solution for parenting in the digital world.