Kids, Parenting

Screening Screentime

Modern Day Zombies and Weirdos

I’m gonna be 100% real with you, I’m a lazy mom. When I first became a parent, I would have the TV playing all day. The thought I was giving my kid, and eventually kids, an advantage. I thought I was doing them a service by introducing them to Nick Jr, Noggin and Disney Jr. After all, the shows are educational and let us not forget all the valuable lessons taught to us by Yo Gabba Gabba.

Don't Bite Your Friends
Don’t Bite Your Friends

While I was a stay at home mom of two toddlers, the shows would run in the background while the kids played and watched the TV intermittently. That’s not to say I didn’t engage with them. We had learning games in the form of apps we would play, flash cards, toys. I enjoy reading, so we read a lot. Bradley started recognizing words at three and would read to me at age four. Avery is also beginning to read, which makes me think I’m doing something right.

We thought it was cool that they were learning and picking up all these lessons so effortlessly. We got the kids a smart TV for their bedroom, and thought we hit the jackpot. We thought it would be perfect, dad and I could Netflix & Chill while the kids entertained themselves with their own shows in their own room.

What’s Up With Those Youtube Videos?

As Bradley and Avery got more unsupervised TV and iPad time, they got more into YouTube videos and cartoons made for an older age group. This is the part where the kids started getting hypnotized by these strange videos I still don’t understand. I’m sure you’ve seen them, adults unwrapping and opening toys, imitating children sounding excited. My kids wouldn’t even touch their own toys, not even the brand new ones they got for Christmas- just to watch these damn videos, and believe they have a room full of toys. Almost every parent I know says the same about their kids. They’re addicted to these weird, creepy videos and it totally changes their character. Bradley watches MineCraft videos for inspiration, he says, but I don’t like them. These adults are acting immature and setting terrible examples for kids who are watching. They say mean and rude things, and use language which can get kids in trouble at school or home. Bradley, who I know to be a reasonable, well spoken kid, has started acting straight up embarrassing, making weird sounds and repeating language from the videos. He acts babyish and whines and is just not himself. The change in behavior has even been noticed by the school.

We made the decision to remove the television from the kids room after they wouldn’t stop watching their weird videos and wouldn’t change their behavior.IMG_3298 It’s not just YouTube, they just weren’t using the TV for the same purpose anymore and would LOSE THEIR MINDS if we turned it off or restricted its use. We try to remember to hide the iPad too, but Bradley usually wakes up at sometime during the night and takes it. As of right now, they’re only allowed to watch family movies – together with their parents. The only apps on the iPad are strictly educational.

There was a lot of fuss the first few days of no screens, but they’ve adjusted pretty well and I’m loving the change. Instead of arguing over whose turn it is to choose a show or play on the iPad, they’ve resorted to – shocker – actually playing together. Bradley is back to building Lego masterpieces and Avery Grace is enjoying the doll house she got for Christmas. They’re acting like kids again. We spend a lot more time reading now, and they’re getting better at it. I love to read and it makes me so proud to watch them. Maybe we’ll let them earn their screen time use again, but I’m not in a rush. Let them be little and let them love each other.

Author: Alexis Petty-Rodriguez

My name is Alexis Petty-Rodriguez. I’m a young mom with two amazing little ones, Bradley Tyler and Avery Grace. These are my experiences with parenting, what works for us and what the kids are into. These guys totally have their own personality and usually get their own way with things.