A Letter To My Child Explaining Why I Limit Screen Time

To My Dear Child,

I know you often wonder why I limit your exposure to screens.

Curiosity and intelligence has given you the confidence to ask me why I don’t allow you to walk around with your iPad all day.

When you see your friends doing it.

And why your friends know the passcode to their screens but I keep your passcode a secret from you.

You’re too young to comprehend this now.

So I try my best to explain it to you in terms your bright, developing mind can understand.

In a perfect world, I’d give you everything you’ve ever wanted.

Including unlimited access to your iPad.

Constant exposure to your device.

Leaving the amount of usage up to your discretion.

However, this isn’t a perfect world.

And motherhood, it changed me.

Forced me to look at my life, my upbringing, and who I’ve become.

Made me realize I needed to provide you with more than I had so your life can hopefully be less excruciating.

My field of study, psychology, studies the human mind.

Including how childhood has an affect on a person’s developing brain.

I’ve read how extensive exposure to screens can lead to the development of certain learning disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Because the screens you’re growing up with are different from the televisions and computers I grew up with.

They’re highly convenient in which they’re easily accessible and extremely portable nowadays.

However, our screens nowadays include the ability to jump from one app to another if we get tired of what we are watching.

They provide us with the flexibility of skipping ads at the ease of our fingertips.

Therefore, interfering with your young developing brain.

Enough long term exposure can create neuropath ways that teach your brain to believe things should be accessible to you at the click of your fingertips.

Causing you to have struggles with impulse control.

Leading to more frequent temper tantrums because it’s interfering with your ability to learn how to wait.

It’s not that I don’t want to give you a screen every time you ask for it.

I’ve seen first hand the detrimental effects unlimited screen time have on children.

It interferes with their capacity to socialize with others, even in a group of their peers. And it leads them to need to find ways to constantly stimulate their brain when they’re away from their screens.

It’s why I often encourage you to explore with your imagination when you tell me you’re bored.

It’s why I often ask you, “What can you do?” What can you play with?”

So that you can learn multiple ways to cope with boredom and other emotions that may one day feel like too much for you to dive into.

And it’s why I’m so strict on you about screen time at social events and on car rides.

Because social events, although usually not created for your enjoyment, teach you how to interact with others.

Children your age, people my age, and people your grandparents age.

To you, it might seem pointless.

But the truth is these social gatherings will teach you how to behave when you’re older.

An adult.

Not just at family functions and community parties.

But at corporate meetings for your future career.

They teach you social etiquettes and how to engage in table discussions.

Although to you they might seem pointless.

One day, your ability to network with those you meet at events and in other public settings could open an array of endless opportunities.

The truth is, I want to provide you with the ease of life I didn’t have.

The ability to converse with any individual.

The confidence to enter any room or circle of people and engage with them as if you are their equal.

Even if you struggle to believe it at times.

I know being our only child for so many years, you’re used to all eyes on you.

So you struggle at times in situations where you’re not the center of our world.

But these situations will teach you, the world doesn’t dance around you.

As much as I would love it too.

It doesn’t.

And you’ll be ok if you have to wait your turn.

You’ll be ok if you are not the focus of the conversation.

It’s why I signed you up for extracurricular activities at a young age.

So your curious mind could benefit from a world outside of what I provide for you.

So you can discover your abilities and work on the weaknesses you might encounter.

So you can continue to approach the universe with the level of confidence and assertiveness you currently have.

I admire your ability to advocate for yourself and others.

Your ability at such a young age to address your peers and others.

And state how they made you feel.

But also indicate to others what someone whom you feel is not being heard is trying to express.

Such as when you told your aunt, your cousin stated he wasn’t hungry.

We live in a world where our ability to socialize and assert ourselves with your level of confidence usually leads to success.

Whether it be your future career, how you’re treated by others (friends, family, coworkers, and strangers alike), education, and/or other aspects of your life.

My child, not giving you a screen every time you are bored has benefited you in more ways than you’ll ever see.

It’s one of the reasons you are so good with directions.

And you can easily spot when we’ve chosen to drive away from our original course.

Why you can tell us we are driving away from our house when we told you we were going home.

I know you might at times feel left out.

Because your screen time is so limited.

But I just want to give you a chance to discover the world outside of your iPad.

A world filled with adventure and endless learning opportunities.

To captivate your brilliant mind.

Written by Eriko Her, M.A., T-LPC

Posted in