They’ve been officially cut off. Jackson, 6 and Asher, 5 are looking at a summer minus iPad, Internet and older cousins’ phones… no nothin.

They have been allowed 15 iPad minutes each day, that’s what we call screen time in our house. That does not include TV time. That is also limited. But as summer sets in, my boys seem to want it more and more and… more. It’s creeping into our lives in a very ugly way. The five year old yelling and screaming that his time is not up (when it is) and holding on to the iPad with a serious death grip. I’ve literally had to pry it out of his hands. I’ve had enough!

We gave the boys the news while they were busy drawing super heroes. We thought we’d soften the blow. But it didn’t seem to set in because they didn’t really seem to care. WHAT? All they said was ‘okay.’ Do they not understand what we just said? I wonder when it’s gonna sink in?

So even though this decision is a bit scary as I know it will undoubtedly cause me more trouble than I’m able to grasp. We (my husband and I) think it’s what’s best for our family. While I love technology and believe it in for children (to an extent) I do not think it is serving them well. Educational games included. I will not allow them to be addicted to useless games and hours of meaningless activity. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it’s okay. I just see it as a bad habit. And for my kids at least, it’s a privilege, not a right.

What’s even more scary to me is that we really don’t know what this technology is doing to our children’s brains. There’s just not a lot of research on this. Believe me, I’ve searched and I’ve asked so many experts about this topic. Our babies were born into this culture. What impact will it have on their lives and brains?

I asked Katie Hurley, a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert, to weigh in:

“‘Everything in moderation’ is a commonly used phrase when it comes to kids and technology. There is definitely a place for technology in the classroom. Kids are learning to navigate technology at a much younger age, with the hope that this will serve them well in the future. That does not, however, include games. Even the so-called educational games are created in a way to keep kids coming back for more. It is a business, after all. New stimuli and rewards are offered at certain intervals to keep kids interested. Then they get back to the classroom and teachers report inattention, fidgeting, and behavioral concerns. Can it all be blamed on games? Of course not. But clearly moderation isn’t really working. Summer is the perfect time to decrease screen time and rely on outdoor, organic play. Kids get less outside time overall right now, and that affects behavior. Unplugging for the summer gives kids a chance to learn while doing what they love to do – play.”

So that’s that. We’ll see how it all goes. I’ll keep you posted as the summer unfolds. I’m hoping for the best. What are your thoughts?

Katie Hurley also has specialized training in Play Therapy from the University of California San Diego. She worked as a Therapist and Clinical Director at a specialized day school for children with Learning Differences in Los Angeles for seven years. She runs a private practice and teaches parenting classes. For more about Kaite Hurley, head on over to her website at: Practical Parenting

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