Tuesday, October 29, 2013


i was listening yesterday to this piece on kids and technology, produced in light of the newest guidelines on media use put forward by the American Academy of Pediatricians. (i am looking forward to more from this series on the digital childhood - running all week.) i was pleased to hear that the aap is taking into consideration that screens are becoming more and more part of the classroom experience, and a differentiation between that and "entertainment media".

it was easy when they were little. tablets and smartphones weren't everywhere (seems crazy considering how young they are!) and we simply didn't turn on the television. our early iphones weren't that interesting to them, but in 2010 (when they were 6 and 9) the iPad entered the house and all of a sudden we were faced with setting guidelines and usage rules. fast-forward three years and our eldest has her own smartphone (received on entering middle school)and her sister an iPod touch. it has becoming increasingly difficult to police usage. (i will add that the eldest is an extremely conscientious kids - and is pretty good a self-monitoring with very little direction from us while the younger goes through phases of great interest to no interest.) i have come to understand with E, that it is a big part of how she communicates with her friends. mainly texting her bff and using carefully monitored snapchat and instagram accounts.

so we have revisited our house rules (media plan). these occasionally slide a bit. we are working now (all of us!) to bring them back in line.

1. no screens at meals. (this is hard and fast and not allowed to slide.)
2. no screen before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m Monday - Friday.
3. no screens in the bedrooms
4. no screens when we have guests (theirs or ours)
5. no screens at other peoples houses
6. friends screens in "the basket" (where our phones live) when they come over (this is the hardest one for me to regulate)

best defense. a good offense. i try not to manage their free-time - but i do try and offer opportunity for non-screen activities. lots of time outside, and access to indoor activities that don't include screens. perennial favourite: reading (real paper books! magazines and the newspaper); cards (snap, war,"oh heck", rummy...). new obsession: cribbage; rainbow loom.

Saturday night

Saturday night

Saturday night

are screens an issue at your house? how do you find the right balance?


Lisa Solomon said...

i'm definitely going to have to navigate this soon. it's so hard to figure out as i do think there are some lovely aspects to screens and am definitely addicted to my own. ;) thank you for sharing your rules... food for thought for sure.

Tracy Bartley said...

thanks lisa. good luck xo

rebecca said...

so timely, this post. our school district will roll out an ipad for every kid next year. big topic of conversation around these parts. i really am optimistic that the differentiation between their use in the classroom vs. as entertainment will be obvious once the program is up and running.

and, as always, your thoughtfulness and considerations on how screens are viewed in your family is greatly appreciated!

house on hill road said...

i like your rules, t. ours are pretty similar, but we do allow ipods in the bedrooms as the girls are always listening to music. the basket idea is brilliant - we did that for awhile, but i let it slip. time to reenact that rule!