The Real Reason Why Kids Should Not Get Any Screen Time
Here are a few reasons you can find on the internet; Behavior problems: Elementary school-age children who watch TV or use a computer more than 2 hours per day are more likely to have emotional, social, and attention problems. Educational problems: Elementary school-age children who have televisions in their bedrooms do worse on academic testing.
When people talk about the disruptive reasons for kids having screen time, they mostly talk about the outcome, that we already see. What happens when kids have screen time at a young age? The answer is behavioral, emotional, social problems.
Very few people talk about how that happens. How it happens that all these kids with access to the screen have some sort of issues. It might be major or minor but the issue is still there.
Almost no one talks about the why behind all the issues.
Here is your why in a few sentences.
Philosopher Alan Watts taught his students to understand that when we are born, we do not differentiate between the external and internal world. We do not understand “that which exists outside of ourselves and that which exists internally” and therefore as we grow we learn to discern what is I and what is you.
Kids can’t differentiate reality from the cartoon. They think that whatever happens in the cartoon is part of their life, so therefore it is part of them. They don’t know yet what’s acceptable and what’s not, what’s good or bad, they have no idea about social and gender roles, they don’t know what’s normal and what’s abnormal. They just know whatever they see, they are just observers at first, they don’t think about what they see they just accept whatever they see as part of themselves.
When kids are born they don’t have the ability to think. They aren’t the thinkers yet, they remain to be the observer. Even though we never become the thought itself and it always stays separate from our being, sometimes when we grow up we forget that truth. So most humans allow themselves to become the thought.
Since babies don’t have the ability to think at first they are just pure consciousness, which gets programmed on a subconscious level. They are always in the moment, they are fully present, so they absorb every single words, action, or thing that they see or hear. They are literally pure subconsciousness, which we can mold and program in a way that can be beneficial or disruptive for his whole life.
Most of our traumas, mental traumas happen during our childhood. That’s why it almost seems impossible to let go of the old traumas and blueprints because we got them when we were so little that had no ability even to think. We got programmed when we were pure living subconscious. And that program runs most of our adult lives until we start to become conscious and aware of our own selves and lives. We think that we don’t have the access to the program itself, the only thing we think we can access is the marks that those traumas left on us.
I personally think that the longer we don’t allow our kids to have screen time or watch the worst thing they could ever see, cartoons, the better it will be for them and for us too.
But here’s the truth. You too have to eliminate screen time from your life when you are around your kids. That’s where we should start.
You know how you should raise yourself first before you start to raise your kids, that’s how you should start from yourself when it comes to bringing any change to your and your family’s life. Reducing/eliminating screen time from family isn’t any different.
We have to actually give our presence to our kids instead of giving them screen time. We have to replace screen time with our time. That’s the hardest part for us parents. Because parents are humans and humans find it hard to be present and to live in the moment therefore they find it hard to give their kids presence when they themselves don’t live in presence.
Kids, up to a certain age and point, only live in the very moment that they are. They only live in the present moment. There is no past or future for them. Most of the adults on the other hand mostly live either in the past or in the future, rarely in the present moment. We don’t actually meet our kids where they are. It seems to me that parents and their children are living in completely different dimensions.
The grown-ups are rarely in the here and now. It’s all about what happened to them earlier that day, yesterday, or 5 years prior to the moment in which they are right now. It’s all about tomorrow and what will happen in 5 years from the moment in which they actually are. When I say adults live in the past or future, I mean that their minds are always somewhere else than where they are. Children’s minds are always and only at the very moment that they are in.
We have to meet our kids where they are. If we want to change their habits, we have to change our own habits first. They learn almost everything from us. They are our mirrors. Whatever we don’t like in them, is literally us in them. They give us the chance to renew ourselves and create better versions of ourselves.
Until the age of 8 (at least) our kids aren’t ready to comprehend the things they are going to see inside those boxes (Tv, computer, phone, iPad). We can save them from so many health and mental issues just by not giving them any screen time.
My toddler is already 3-years-old. Up until 2 years, he had zero screen time. When he turned 2 we decided to leave everything and started van life. We lived and traveled in a van for 8 months. During that time I allowed him some screen time. Very rarely but I did, because there were days when we literally were in survival mode and for everyone’s peace of mind we needed to do so. But if you live in an apartment, are having some type of routine, it is possible to raise a screen-free child. Since we got back to apartment living he’s back to having zero screen time as before. Even during the van life we had days where we drove 8 hours and he drove it without any screen time or cartoon. He’s so used to not having the screens that at the age of 3 he can drive more than 8 hours without any meltdowns or tantrums.
I haven’t shared my own approach to my son to make you feel bad about yours, I shared it simply to show you that it’s possible. I’m far away from being a perfect mom. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first 2 years of his life. I was alone with him while my husband was working full time. I had no help or even family members near me. I managed to raise a screen-free kid. Sure there were days where I felt like I was going crazy, or that I wanted to reconsider my approach. There were days when I don’t wanted to be alone all day with my son, that I wanted to run away. Basically, I was experiencing all the regular “crazy” days that we moms have. But somehow in this trying, I managed to raise a screen-free child. The point is; If I could do it, so can you.
Kids need boredom, kids also need our presence and quality time, what they don’t need is any screen time until they can differentiate what’s them and what’s not.
Even adults, become what we consume. If you watch the news all the time you start to become very anxious. If you watch a TV series about murder all the time you start to dream about it. Imagine how affected kids get by all that they see.
Replace the screen time with quality time. It will take time and at times it might even feel impossible. But we can do it. We can make sure that our kids don’t have issues simply because we were not motivated enough to give them our presence. You not only “save” your child and make sure he has a healthy mental state, but you “save” generations.
We raise our kids, our kids raise their kids and etc… If we raise healthy kids with healthy mental and emotional patterns and states, our kids will do the same for their kids and we are going to plant generational seeds of consciousness and love. We can be the change we want to see. We don’t have to be part of unconscious programming and generational trauma anymore. We can break free from it and carve a better way for future generations.
Originally published at https://anirich.blog on December 17, 2020.