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boy with computer - how much screen timeThe Great Screen Time DecisionJanuary 10, 2012
Someone has told me that she is disappointed in my article in the current issue of Life Learning Magazine about kids and electronic media. (It’s not online.) She didn’t like the fact that I didn’t tell readers whether they should allow unlimited computer access, or none, or police it.

Life Learning Magazine is not about setting rules for how to live with kids. It is a forum for sharing ideas, questions, doubts, opinions, experiences, and decision-making processes about non-coercive, active, interest-led learning from life. It is also a place to give and receive support for a very non-traditional way of living with children. But, in the end, each family translates those ideas into their life in slightly different ways. And that is as it should be.

True to that, the article suggests that readers make their own decisions regarding screen time (or video game use), based on their family’s needs, lifestyle, etc. Don’t listen to other people’s so-called expert advice. Trust your own children’s needs and wants, and they will guide you. For many of us, technology is one area where we’re prone to react based on our own preferences, rather than on our children’s.

What do I think? I think that the parental role includes guidance relative to age and developmental level but that kids can self-regulate about most things that their parents worry about.

What do I think? I think computers are great. (I use one for about ten hours a day, but don’t play video games.) If PCs had been available when our children were young, I’m sure they would have had unlimited access to them in the same way they used the publishing tools that were in our home at the time.

What do I think? I think that if we allow our kids to learn based on their needs and interests, we should try to provide them with the tools to do that (whatever they may be).

What do I think? I think that if you choose to have a computer in your home, and you want to live in a non-coercive way with your children, everyone should be able to use the computer to the degree they need or want to. Otherwise, the words “trust,” “respect,” and “dignity” are hollow.

But that’s just what I think. I trust you to make up your own mind! (And don’t forget that life learning is a journey; we are allowed to change our minds.)
2012/01/10 7:45 PM


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