NOT "Screentime"

If an adult is using a television set, or a laptop computer, or a smartphone, and somebody asks them what they are doing they will say "watching the game" or "reading on Wikipedia" or "texting my friend". They will never say "having screentime".

—Virginia Warren

Jo Isaac responded to that:

I wish there was a 'BOOM' emoji!

Emily Strength:
It's helpful to think of computers as all the things a computer can do, most of which no one objects to. A computer is a cookbook, a shopping list, a grocery store, a calculator, a history book (really ALL the history books), a phone, a clock, a calendar, a pen and paper, paint, a bank, a post office, a newspaper, your favorite novel that's became play that you can now watch in the comfort of your home with better special effects.

It's a window into 17th century France or modern day Turkey or the reproductive system of a sloth.

It's conversations and music and a kaleidoscope of amazing sights. Or one beautiful painting that you can look at carefully for an hour without having to travel to an art museum.

And I've said this before, and people sometimes say, "But MY kid doesn't use it for all those things. My kid just watches youtube videos."

Well, does your kid drive to the bank? Or do the grocery shopping? Or read the newspaper? Or travel to France?

Does that mean your "real life time" is somehow lacking? Is it damaging their brain that they are only using some of the physical (as opposed to digital) tools that exist?

So it's ok if they don't use the computer for everything it can possibly be used for right now. They can use it for the things that interest them, and it's a tool that is available to be used for many, many more things. The options are there when they are interested.

Sandra Dodd an idea for a page, if you don't already have this on your site:

I'm sure many people combined could (and have) come up with lots of other things that a computer does. A nice, long list of all the things a computer is besides a screen would be a cool link, I think.

And here is that page! taDaa!
Sandra Dodd:
-=-Or one beautiful painting that you can look at carefully for an hour without having to travel to an art museum. -=-

And WAY more close-up than museums ever allow anyone besides curators with gloves on.

Maybe you forgot maps. Not just historical maps and maps in different languages, but a current map of where you need to go today.

There's a great stream-of-consciousness dump of a day's computer use by Roxana Sorooshian: Roxana's account of her activities one day
Kelly Halldorson wrote:
When my son Griffin was 7 or 8. He became somewhat “obsessed” with the navigation screen in our Suburban. Today that might be on a phone screen but in the mid-2000’s it was built into the truck.

He would sit in the front seat and watch it. When we were at stops or parked waiting with the car on he would play with it. Zooming out and in and “going places” through the maps.

Sometimes it seemed like it was a lot. And although I didn’t discourage it or complain about the fingerprints all over it, I did wonder what the big deal was.

We regularly traveled around New England (we live in New Hampshire) for our oldest son Wolf’s travel hockey team. Griffin was able to spend a lot of time observing and playing with this navigation screen.

One day we were at a sports store getting some new gear. My husband struck up a conversation with another couple buying gear for their son. The mother after hearing what team Wolf played for told us they had a game up that way and asked for directions. The rink was about an hour away from where we were.

I paused, trying to work out the best way to explain it to her. Griffin (my normally shy kid) proudly interjected, “That’s easy. You take a left out of the parking. At the end of the road take a right onto Central Ave. Follow the loop around for about a mile then take a right onto Silver St...”

The adults and kids all stopped talking just to listen to this little person giving such clear and precise directions.

“...then follow Silver St to the end. Pick up route 4 north. Then go left onto Route 125. Then right onto Rte 155. Take that to Route 101. Then the Hooksett exit off 101 to 3A. I forget the exit number. But follow that and it will be on your right.”

Then he just walked off smiling at the dropped jaws of everyone around him.

The mother said, “Wow.”

And I smiled and replied, “He loves our navigation system in the truck. He plays with it for hours.”

Screentime Index page Logic Fears