Do screens kill creativity?
I read this article recently which discusses how parents bribe their children with computer time. I have to say that it did rather resonate with me as I am definitely guilty of using my iPad to keep my own two kids quiet.
If you don’t have time to read it then here are some of the points that I found the most interesting (and also the most scary):
- Children spend more time online than watching TV these days;
- Banning screen time is the modern equivalent of grounding children;
- One in three children between the ages of 5-7 have their own tablet;
- Computer technology influences reading habits;
- Teenagers spend on average more time each night online than they spend in the entire week on sports activities outside school.
I love my iPad. I use it at work, for watching TV programmes, reading books, shopping, research, email etc. It’s easy to access and portable which is brilliant. As a parent, it’s ingenious for entertaining children on long journeys or if they are getting restless in a restaurant or waiting area. There are loads of wonderful educational based apps and you can read as many books as you like if you download them.
However, as someone who works with children, I do sometimes worry what all this easy-access stimulation is doing to our imaginations? Is handing over the iPad at times of boredom actually sacrificing their creativity as they will never be bored enough to invent their own entertainment? Are we stunting our children’s creative development by this not to mention their social development. How can staring at a screen ever be as rewarding as a face-to-face conversation?
And what about physical exercise and the obesity crisis? Is sitting slumped over a tablet damaging children's health? If they are spending more time watching a screen rather than playing sport or other outdoor activities, it's hardly going to help.
A few years ago we did a survey amongst Perform parents and their greatest concern was that their children’s verbal and written communication skills were not being sufficiently developed because of mobile phones and computers. It’s an interesting topic and whilst we gain enormously from computer technology – do our children lose out?
What are your thoughts? Do you incentive with tablet time? Do you have a daily time-limit on your children’s usage? Or do you think it's all a fuss about nothing? I'd love to hear.