Over on Digital Mom, writer Melissa Sais muses about screen time.
We've been told over and over how bad sitting in front of the TV is for our boys. And the common wisdom is that video games are addictive, mind-numbing entertainment of questionable value. Never mind that -- like everything else -- both TV and video games have some positives as well.
But Melissa makes an interesting point. Listen:
"I think all digital moms worry about the amount of “screen time” we allow our kids. Is it frying their brains and turning their bodies into mush? I think it can if we don’t pay some attention to pursuits outside the digital realm. And I realize I have to show leadership in pursuing the non-digital options."
She goes on to talk about how she has better luck suggesting and initiating active alternatives, instead of simply saying, "TV off!" But her line about showing leadership in pursuing non-digital options hit me another way too.
It's the old show-don't-tell concept. If I want my kids to spend more time in the natural world, then I need to spend more time in the natural world. Sitting at my computer, playing Pathwords on Facebook while I tell the boys to go outside smacks of hypocrisy.
Yes, sometimes I need my quiet down time; we all do, and none of us should feel guilty about that. But I really need to consider what my actions tell my boys. More often than not lately, my actions have been saying, "Go ahead. Watch TV. I like having some quiet time to myself," and "The digital world is more interesting than real life."
That last one is a harsh realization, but between all the fun I'm having with my blog, the blogathon, Twitter, Facebook and my usual everyday email and work stuff, I'll admit that I've been spending a lot of time online. If I want my kids to spend more time in the non-digital realm, maybe it's time for me to rediscover some non-digital pastimes. Maybe it's time to pull out the watercolors. Time to knit for 15 minutes while supper cooks, rather than hopping online. Time to head out for a walk.
What do you think? How do you show leadership in pursuing non-digital options?