Growing Up Social ~ Kids & Screen Time

In this age of digital technology it can be a struggle to strike a screen time balance with your kids. While we are living in a digital age, I think there are still many concerns about our kids having too much screen time in their lives, and not enough of other activities.

Growing Up Social - Kids & Screen Time from Starts At Eight

The book Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman is one of the many things that has spurred the thoughts in this article. {I recently received this book for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.} Growing Up Social is the latest book from well known author Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane.  Gary Chapman has written several popular The Five Love Languages books that I also highly recommend.

Questions like these are ones we often ask ourselves as parents:

  • When to start letting them have screen time?
  • How much at each age?
  • How do you regulate and monitor screen time?
  • Is screen time really so bad?

I guess to start with you might want to define what exactly screen time is. It is typically thought of as ANY time spent in front of a video game, cell phone, computer, or television. For our house we make a distinction between educational/productive screen time, and just for fun/gaming screen time. When we talk about time engage in screen time, we feel it matters what you are doing with that time in front of the screen.

I would like to tell you there is one quick and easy set of rules to implement and follow. Sadly, this is another case where the answers are greatly varied, and the choices are personal and individual to each family.

How Are We Dealing With Screen Time?

As far as our family goes, I have one child who isn’t all that interested in being glued to a screen, one that gets upset when I kick him off, and that is somewhere in between. I should also note that I myself have a job (this blog) that is screen driven and so does my husband (a network admin). I think this causes us to be somewhat more lax about screen hours than others might be.

I recently attended a gathering of homeschool parents and we had a conversation about screen time and our children. It was interesting to see how varied the opinions are on this topic. They varied from no screen time, to totally unlimited and unregulated screen time. Some of the overriding themes were frustration with feeling like that is all their kids do and focus on, sentiments of the benefits of engaging with technology online, and concerns about how to handle this situation with their children.

I think the key is in balance. Are your kids finding balance in their days? Do they do things, and socialize with others that are not screen related?

If they do not seem to have balanced days, you might try asking them to help you create a list of other things they enjoy doing. Then when they need an idea they have a ready made list of suggestions for other things to do.

Another thing you can do is agree up on set amount of time they are allotted for screen time per day/week, whatever you choose,  and have them keep a log of the time they are spending and on what specifically they are spending. This will help them stay within the boundaries and give you all a chance to see how their screen time is spent.

How Growing Up Social Can Help

In Growing Up Social the authors focus on raising kids who know how to relate in our screen driven world. They offer practical advice on how we as parents can better relate to our children, thus helping us to help them navigate this world.

Then they go another step beyond that by giving REAL LIFE examples, conversations and real words to use with your kids in your own house.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Growing Up Social to help you on your way to creating a healthy balance of screen time in your children’s lives. It will offer you real life statistics to think about and practical advice to get you on your way to those important conversations pertaining to screen time that you need to have with your children.

Another Method of Dealing With Screen Time

No Glowing Screens FREE Printable List from Starts At Eight

Other Gary Chapman Books

Curriculum Review: Discovering the 5 Love Languages At School from Starts At Eight