I’ve been hearing loads of negative reports about the computer game ‘Fortnite’ in the media lately. Are computer games like this bad for my kids? We sometimes use iPad time as an incentive for good behaviour. What are your recommendations on how much time I should allow my child to play these types of games every day?
Answer:The simple answer is there is no right or wrong and the answers to these questions must be discerned for each individual at each individual time. However, the first question to ask is ‘What is the intent behind my child using screen time?’. At Fabic we approach life as though it is one massive classroom — we call it the ‘classroom of life’. We also understand that every behaviour will either support or stunt our development — depending on the intent of how we approach each situation.
If the screen time is being used as a babysitting tool, to disconnect from self/people or to not fully commit to participating in life, then I would say we have an ill intent. If the screen time is being used to support a person’s development, to increase connection with self and others and to support expansion to increase a person’s commitment to everyday life then I would say we have an intent that is supportive.The next questions I would ask are in regards to ‘quality’:
- What quality is the person in when they are using their screen?
- What quality does the person bring to their screen time use?
- What quality is the person in before, during and after screen time use?
- What quality is the material being used during screen time?
And the last questions I would ask are around what impact this screen time is having. The fact is that screen time does impact on people in their everyday life, thus, it is simply being absolutely honest in asking: What impact does this screen time have on my child, the family, the larger social network my child is a part of?
Do I want to advocate for this impact (and if I say yes to screen time at any given moment, I am saying yes to the impact, quality and intent that is imminent).
There are no set answers to questions around what your children should or should not be allowed to be watching/doing during their screen time, and/or any preferred length of screen time, rather the questions should be around internt, quality and impact and whether or not you say yes or no to that.
Published in the October edition of Haven for Families