Okay. Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts floating around on social media regarding the time parents allow their children ‘screen time.’ Let’s face it, it’s a topic that crops up time and time again isn’t it?!
It’s hard to avoid screens in this day and age. Everyone has at least one TV set in their home, (half even have 2 or more.) Then there’s tablets, computers, game consoles, phones, laptops…before you know it there’s a screen in every room and place you go! Because don’t forget half of them are portable now too.
Before I had William, Lily didn’t really use much technology. She watched TV, and watched daddy play his games on the PS4 or computer, but she played a lot with ‘real toys.’ Then William came along…and it all went tits up.
William has always liked the television. Whether that’s something I taught him I don’t know! When he was a baby, I would innocently place him in front of the TV in his bouncer chair so I could get on with housework (…more like hide in the kitchen for a breather and a chocolate bar…but we’ll say ‘housework’.) and during his early months I was quite in love with binge watching multiple tv series on Sky Boxset. We’ve since ditched Sky and use the PS4 to watch TV through Netflix, BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
So I suppose it comes as no surprise now that we have the TV on a lot. It was predominantly CBeebies once upon a time, (oh what I’d give to have cbeebies back on again…) then it moved onto Thomas the Tank Engine episodes to the point we were quite put out by the new theme song (thanks Papa…) and now? Now we are at the stage where every day he comes downstairs asking for “Red!” “Red” in William language, is YouTube.
Instead of watching good old normal TV, or even a film, I am now subjected to a variety of, to put it simply, shit, on YouTube.
I’ve watched Nursery Rhymes multiple languages! (Rarely English anymore…) I’ve watched a Russian guy create a ‘train world’ on a computer programme. I’ve watched real videos of real recordings of train crossings, with the barrier coming down and the trains passing by. I’ve watched little kids on their parents Vlogs, getting everything under the sun at Thomasworld, or getting their 1000piece train set out with their 200+ trains alongside it. I’ve watched grown men and women create videos of them building train sets from new box sets. Oh, and I’ve also watched Thomas the Tank Engine episodes in the American version which is even more annoying than the English ones! (I’m sure there were more, I’ve just mentally blocked them out of my head…)
And it’s not just William. Lily has a love for YouTube as well, but instead of watching the crap William does, she enjoys watching other Youtubers play games! Some of you might be familiar with the names DanTDM, StampyCat, EthanGamerTV, InquisitorMaster and a recent one she’s found called ItsFunneh (it’s really not.) They all make money playing games and recording themselves doing so on YouTube. To be fair, the money they’re on – I could get into gaming or toy reviews!
Although, in more recent weeks, Lily is more into playing the actual games than watching others! We’re now edging into the realms of Roblox, Minecraft on PC and PS4, and The Sims 4. (I did get her to play Theme Hospital too which she loved, but it wouldn’t save so she got fed up of it.) It’s a tricky one, as they are playable online with other real people, so we have enforced some rules when she plays them, and she doesn’t get to spend all day on them. (I’ll be posting up about this later.)
I am, quite simply, co-parenting with YouTube. And now William has joyfully hit the threenagers (even though he isn’t 3 yet) he has his ‘arms crossed and foot stamp’ down to a T when I refuse “Red” or even suggest a different programme to watch. He even throws himself back in a temper… At home, YouTube is on more than I care to admit. It does have its advantages though. If we’re out and about and he’s bored = YouTube on my phone and he’ll sit and watch it for hours (which is great for when I go to fat club now!)
But let’s face it, we’re all just trying to get through this parenting malarkey without thumping our kids right? (Or is that just me?) So if putting the tv on saves what little sanity I have left, I’m damn well gonna do it!
I would like to just point out though, that even though YouTube or the TV is on, half of the time the kids aren’t even bloody watching it!! They’re too engrossed in their real toy car garage and toy train set that’s taking up a good amount of the living room – but the second I even think about turning it over it’s “I was watching that!” Mhm…yep okay then.
Am I alone in this boat or are there other parents just trying to survive parenthood like me? How do you placate your kids? What’s your take on ‘screen time?’