Here's Why You Shouldn't Judge Today's Parents for Allowing Some Screen Time
Raising a child in a constantly evolving digital world comes with new parenting decisions to make. Navigating the somewhat unknown, murky waters of screen time is tough, and no matter what choices you make to limit screen time, there will always be someone nearby ready to share criticism.
Genevieve Georget knows the feeling.
“I—along with a large number of my friends and family—don’t appreciate getting told every single day that we’re raising serial killers because we let our children use a paint-by-numbers app on our computers,” she says.
She recently opened up about this topic on Facebook, in a post which has been shared nearly 35,000 times.
“Here’s the thing…I only learned about the Internet when I was in high school. I was 25 years old the first time I ever had a cell phone…The first 20 years of my life were lived in a world that is very different from the one I’ve known for the last 20 years of my life,” Georget explains.
“We are also the first generation of parents having to raise children in this new world, and we’re having to do so without much of a support system in place to help us navigate it along the way.”
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has set certain guidelines on screen time, it’s still new territory even for experts. It recommends setting very little to no screen time for babies and toddlers, but for kids—it’s not so crystal clear.
“I talk a lot about the village that is required to raise children, but I also talk a lot about the village that is required to raise parents,” the mom explains. “And the moment one parent sits around a table to talk about how another parent is failing, a torch is being taken to that village and burning it to the ground. When this happens, we immediately contribute more to the problem than we do to the solution.”
The digital world is not only a new forum for today’s generation of kids, but it’s a new can of worms for today’s parents.
“Truth be told, it’s really hard and scary to be a parent right now. I can go online on any given day and stumble across fifteen articles dictating all the ways that I’m not parenting correctly, and I can do it all before 9 a.m. It’s very easy to see how different things are for our children, while overlooking how different things are for us as parents.”
So when she allows her kids to enjoy a little bit of screen time, she’d prefer others to keep their opinions to themselves.
“My children can watch all the Pixar movies they want while we make the 10-hour drive to visit grandma and grandpa. You choose your battles, I’ll choose mine.”
No matter how much we may long for a simpler world, it’s not a realistic aspiration anymore.
“Technology isn’t going anywhere. The world isn’t going to stop progressing because we don’t like seeing kids with computers in their pockets. And it’s not actually serving anyone—especially our children—to create a narrative around how terrible their future is as a result,” the mom points out.
So instead of parents judging parents, Georget suggests parents help parents take on the unknown.
“We’re all growing in this. We’re all learning in this. We’re all blindly trying to make our way in all of this,” she says.