We have decided to make our app “Appy Tips and tricks for kids” free this month (may 2015). It aims to help other parents discuss do’s and don’ts on the tablet… and subtly put a set of rules around the device. It’s simple, fun and Devi Mallal’s drawings are gorgeous! And, oh, it’s FREE for now.
— @CotCotCotApps (@CotCotCotApps) May 7, 2015
I’ve been thus monitoring some of my favorite blogs around the topic of Screen-Free Week this year and the general view is that (1) yes, it’s a good idea but (2) it should not be used to antagonize connected families.
Common Sense Media published a few articles debating pros and cons among which Ingrid Simone’s viewpoint on why her family is not doing Screen-Free Week. “Being mindful of screens and their influence on a day-to-day basis” sums it up pretty well, adding to it that “Quality time together can include screens” and “The important thing is screen-time awareness.” .
GeekMom lists her five reasons to say no and it is a fresh viewpoint. Her main argument is that “Screen-Free Week projects a value judgement that can be polarizing.” She writes the following: “I don’t know who came up with the idea that by giving up screens for a week kids will rediscover the joys of “playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends,” but clearly it is someone who is either technologically illiterate or in the business of fear.”… and, unfortunately, we can only agree with this. .
(added May 18) In addition, David Kleeman at Kidscreen.com – in an editorial entitled “Screen-Free Week” misses the Big Picture” – mentions that “screen time is a complex concept, and navigating the array of devices and accompanying flood of content demands media literacy. Families, schools, and child care centers need tools for mindful evaluation of habits (…) and strategies for making thoughtful choices. They need prompts for productive co-viewing or co-play, and vocabulary for discussing what they consume or create.”
Finally, Planet Smarty Pants provides a set of concrete and common sense recommendations to have a Screen Smart Life, among which:
- Turn TV off when you are not watching ;
- NO screens in the bedroom ;
- Establish your screen time policy ;
- Decide what content is appropriate ;
- and Limit the number of apps or games
… to which I would have liked a distinction between books apps, educational apps and leisure apps (i.e. games), eliminating all games for adults! But it certainly is a “no brainer” for technology literate families. .
All this to come to our main point that we are rather in favour of helping families and professionals manage and evaluate the content on tablets rather than imposing our ideas, issuing edicts and defining screen-free periods.
Oh, but I’m late, I’m late!!!! It’s time for me to refer you to our app for toddlers – “Appy Tips and tricks for kids“ – and tell you to play and catch as many carrots as you can with your kids 😉
It may be the perfect occasion to discuss screen time with your kids and how they can learn how to manage it!