I’ve written before about how screen time impacts children’s behaviour. We bought an iPad around a year ago because I didn’t want Libby to be the only one who couldn’t use it when she started school. Prior to that, both girls would watch television and watch nursery rhymes on the computer. But neither of them could use devices themselves.
Our screen time
These days, the girls have a very limited amount of screen time. This is predominantly because they’re too busy doing other things. Now that the evenings are lighter, they go straight outside as soon as they get home. They’d much rather play on the trampoline or ride bikes than sit in front of a screen. But when they’re up early in the morning, we do allow them to watch the iPad for a while.
It had got to the point where the girls were watching the iPad for half an hour most mornings. We tried to reduce this, because they were starting to get stroppy when we took it off them. But things have changed slightly over the last few weeks, with Libby waking up notably earlier than Lia.
I either run or work in the mornings before the school run, and we decided we’d rather Libby came into our room to watch the iPad instead of waking Lia. So she has half an hour watching it on weekdays, and they both tend to have about an hour at the weekend. It’s not ideal, but for me the question is around what else they could do?
Myself and my husband are both busy at that time and we don’t want them outside unsupervised. Libby’s reading isn’t good enough to sit and read a book alone yet, so the iPad really is the only solution. And it seems we’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by Net Voucher Codes, the average toddler uses a tablet for around 47 minutes each day.
The survey found that the main reason for letting children use a tablet or iPad was to shut them up. This seems a bit harsh to me – it is useful to keep them entertained for a while when I’ve got work to do. But would I agree that I’m giving it to them to shut them up? I don’t think so. Other reasons parents give for allowing a toddler to watch a tablet include learning on the device and keeping them entertained in the car. The car is definitely a place where my two use the iPad and it makes long journeys a lot less painful for all concerned.
I do have concerns about excessive screen time and I will continue to limit it for the foreseeable future. As they get older, my worries will change and their safety online will be more of an issue. Along with a few other bloggers, I have given a couple of tips in this infographic for keeping children safe online. Let me know if there is anything we’ve missed.
Baby and Toddler Tablet Usage Survey 2017. An infographic by the voucher codes website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk