A bit late here, I know, but DC’s school was asking kids and their families to do a “No TV Tuesday” this week. DC had been looking forward to it for quite some time, mainly because she just likes doing different things. Me? I was not looking forward to it. Mainly because this wasn’t just supposed to be no TV. It was no electronics. I suppose the thought was that they wanted families to spend time together not looking at a screen. We spend quite a bit of time together with all sorts of electronics.
During the evening, I noticed just how much of my life is spent looking at a screen, however. (Mainly because each time I was doing something, my kids tried to say I wasn’t following No TV Tuesday.) I sat down to organize Magic cards (Yes. I do that for fun.), but I was using a computer to look up prices. “No TV Tuesday, Dad.” So using a reference source counted? Sigh.
I wanted to read, so I busted out my Kindle. “No TV Tuesday, Dad.”
It’s a book, kids. It might look like a screen, but it’s a book. I swear.
It’s okay. After a couple of hours, DC wanted to watch Netflix. “No TV Tuesday. DC.” Mwa ha ha!
She proceeded to forget three more times that evening. By the third time I reminded her, she sighed. “I don’t like No TV Tuesday.”
You and me both, kiddo.
Is it a good goal? Sure it is. Especially when you consider that the average teen and tween spends 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen, and that’s not including school time. (I have some issues with how the study was done, but there are more like it, and they’re easy to find.) In our family, we limit solo-screen time for kids to 1 hour a day on weekdays, 1.5 hours on weekends. Family time watching things together doesn’t count. I don’t think we always are able to stick to those limits, but that’s the goal.
It really helps that we don’t have television. If you’re going to watch something, you have to boot a device up and select a show. You can’t just channel surf. I know plenty of households where the default position for the TV is “on.” Ours is “off” by default, and I like that. It’s a much quieter place, for one thing.
So while I’m all for limiting screen time, I’m also against avoiding it entirely. The world consists of screens now. Trying to avoid them entirely seems to miss the point. I’d much prefer limited time every day than a “No TV Tuesday” once in a while.
What are your thoughts?