A reader responds:
I think parents need to understand that screen time can also refer to iPads, iPods, smartphones, etc. I am by no means a perfect parent. My son probably watches too much TV some days, but I know too many parents that use those as babysitters and say that they are learning tools. Sure, they can be, but kids need to learn to be creative and explore their environment. Yes, it may be cold outside, but turn the TV/device off and go play in the snow. The kids will sleep better at night with all that physical activity.
Growing up in a large metropolitan area, our TV antenna got seven stations. I watched a lot of TV, mostly on a black-and-white set (!). The highlights? “Wide World of Sports” on Saturdays. “Speed Racer,” “Superman,” and “Batman” after school if I was lucky. My brother and I were forbidden to watch “The Three Stooges.” My mother thought they were mean and hurtful. (They were!). At night, we’d watch Walter Cronkite (or maybe Huntley and Brinkley) deliver the evening news while we were eating dinner. TV was much less vivid in those days, though the daily casualty count from Vietnam usually sparked intense conversations around the dinner table.
Today there is more of everything: a multitude of cable TV stations, DVD’s, video games, smartphones, iPads and tablets, computers. There is a screen everywhere: in every room at home and at school; at the bank or the store or the restaurant; in the car, on the bus, on the plane. At the doctor’s office! All in living, vivid color!
I agree with the reader: while we won’t always be perfect, it is still our responsibility as parents to say when, where, how much, and, the most important word of all — NO!