It’s summer – schools out and the days are long. I don’t just mean the amount of hours of sunlight. The kids are home and the days are looooong. You are either scrambling to get your kids into a camp that is accommodating to your work schedule or you are trying to think of fun things to do to occupy ALL the hours in a day. Either way, I think all of us moms can agree summertime can be difficult. We know it won’t be long before we start hearing the infamous “I’m bored’!
The Digital Age
I remember being a kid in the summertime and I was outside almost all day. Between the pool and playing with friends there wasn’t much time spent inside. Our children spend so much time in school exercising their minds we want them to have the summer to move their bodies a bit. For much of the school day kids are in a classroom sitting down with only around 30 minutes of recess a day. The last thing we want them to do is to spend their summer sitting on a couch glued to an electronic device (truth be told that’s what my daughter is doing now!).
We are in a time where everything is accessible by the touch of your finger. Kids literally have endless amounts of information at their fingertips. There are so many possibilities for kids including gaming systems, Minecraft and watching people play video games on YouTube (something I still don’t understand). We as moms have stiff competition when it comes to trying to convince our kids to put down their iPads, kindles, etc. and go outside and enjoy the warm weather.
There is also a lot of debate as what constitutes too much screen time. How can we balance our child’s want to get lost in the digital world with wanting them to go outside and play the way we did when we were young? You might have even seen a chart of things children need to do before having screen time. It consists of things like – making your bed, 20 minutes of play time outside, or helping a family member among others. When they complete everything on that checklist THEN they can have their electronics.
I feel this checklist is great in theory but there is one major problem with this digital age. The enormous double-standard that exists.
For those of you who have seen that checklist – let me ask you a question. Where did you see it? I don’t think anyone came over to your house and showed it to you in a book. You saw it on social media. And how do you access social media – on your electronic device. You might have even shared with a friend on a text message – again with the use of your electronic device. Maybe you even Googled it – again with the help of your phone, iPad, laptop, etc.
How many times have you or people you know talk about how they just binged watched a show on Netflix? That they literally watched an entire 24 episode season in a two/three day period? How many times do you go out to a restaurant and just see adults endlessly looking at their phone because a Facebook check-in is more appetizing than their food?
Let’s be real for a minute – we as adults probably spend way more time on our electronic devices than our kids do! We can say we are using it for work or we just need a little time to unwind and that’s all true! When it comes down to it our kids spend a crazy amount of time in school throughout the year. Yes there are electronic devices in our school system but I’m pretty sure their eight hour school day does not consist of Minecraft and YouTube videos.
We can say that when we were there age we were outside all the time! Again, lets be real – it’s because these devices didn’t exist! I can guarantee you if they did our parents would be having the same issues we are having now. Case in point because of how much we are on our devices as adults! Yes we are adults and we can choose how we spend our time, but if we are so focused on getting our kids off their devices and enjoying the outdoors there must be a good reason.
How Can We Fix This Double Standard
I’m in no way saying I have an answer for this – because I’m part of the problem. I’m on my devices way too much. When it comes to those crazy times of day it’s so easy to give your kid an iPad. However, I think the answer is to lead by example. We hear that a lot when it comes to eating healthy and staying fit, so why can’t it apply here too? Lets try to make an effort to get off our devices and give Netflix a break and get outside! Maybe our kids will see us enjoying a device-free summer and they will do the same! It might take a while, there might be tears (from us and them) but maybe it’s just what we need!