I fell into conversation with a woman who had helped develop Montessori Letter Sounds, an app that teaches preschoolers the Montessori methods of spelling.
She was a former Montessori teacher and a mother of four. I myself have three children who are all fans of the touch screen. What games did her kids like to play?, I asked, hoping for suggestions I could take home.
“They don’t play all that much.”
Really? Why not?
“Because I don’t allow it. We have a rule of no screen time during the week,” unless it’s clearly educational.
No screen time? None at all? That seems at the outer edge of restrictive, even by the standards of my overcontrolling parenting set.
“On the weekends, they can play. I give them a limit of half an hour and then stop. Enough. It can be too addictive, too stimulating for the brain.”
Her answer so surprised me that I decided to ask some of the other developers who were also parents what their domestic ground rules for screen time were. One said only on airplanes and long car rides. Another said Wednesdays and weekends, for half an hour. The most permissive said half an hour a day, which was about my rule at home. At one point I sat with one of the biggest developers of e-book apps for kids, and his family. The toddler was starting to fuss in her high chair, so the mom did what many of us have done at that moment—stuck an iPad in front of her and played a short movie so everyone else could enjoy their lunch. When she saw me watching, she gave me the universal tense look of mothers who feel they are being judged. “At home,” she assured me, “I only let her watch movies in Spanish.”
The following is quoted from The Touch Screen Generation by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic.
Mitch Moldofsky is founder of the Thinking Skills Club, a computer game club that helps develop cognitive functioning for kids. He hold a B.Sc. in Cognitive Science and Psychology from the University of Toronto.