Screen Free

My last post talked about the growing alarm from Silicon Valley over the power screens have over children. Some parents in the tech business want their children to be screen free. Some of these parents even have their nannies sign “phone-free contracts” so their children aren’t exposed to an adult using a phone.

An article here, in the New York Times, noticed that a new business has sprung up, to help us parents set screen limits on our children, and to remember what we did before we had 24/7 access to screens.

“Parents around the country, alarmed by the steady patter of studies around screen time, are trying to turn back time to the era before smartphones. But it’s not easy to remember what exactly things were like before smartphones. So they’re hiring professionals.”

“In Chicago, Cara Pollard, a parent coach, noticed most adults have gotten so used to entertaining themselves with phones, they forgot that they actually grew up without them. Clients were coming to her confused about what to do all afternoon with their kids to replace tablets. She has her clients do a remembering exercise.’

“I say, ‘Just try to remember what you did as a kid,’” Ms. Pollard said. “And it’s so hard, and they’re very uncomfortable, but they just need to remember.”’

“They will come back with memories of painting or looking at the moon. “They report back like it’s a miracle,” Ms. Pollard said.”

What are the experts suggestions? Find a ball, throw it with your child. Get a dog. Send your child outside to play. These professionals will charge you $80.00 to $120.00 an hour to help you change your whole lifestyle to get your children off their screens.

Another suggestion? Be a good example. One mother said, “She just said things like, ‘Are you telling your kids, ‘No screens at the table — but your phone is on your lap?’” 

It seems silly to hire someone to do something so obvious. But it is sobering that people whose whole work life is to draw us to our phones, to make them irresistable to us, are limiting their own children’s access to screens.

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