This fascinating article in the New York Times emphasises just how much of an impact "screen time" is having on our children's lifestyles. Whether it's Wii, DS, TV, DVD, Internet, X-Box, or any of the myriad entertainment possibilities that exist, our children are more involved with technology than ever before.
While it's difficult to prescribe a perfect amount of screen time for children, one thing that researchers are certain of is that too much time with technology can be harmful to our children.
Kids who are consuming too much technology are often more likely to have health and obesity problems, and also struggle socially with friends, relationships, family, and even learning at school. The question is, how much is too much?
As families this represents a great opportunity to talk about challenges and issues posed by technology. Parents can ask their children what they perceive as issues regarding screen time. Parents can warn their children about security issues, friends and cyber-bullying, and the introverted effects too much time away from real relationships on the computer may foster.
In our family, our children simply don't have the games. The children have also agreed that television in the morning is problematic. And they've agreed to a maximum amount (but no minimum) of screen time (tv and internet) each day. This has forced them to find active ways to use their time, and encourages them to get out of the house to build relationships that are healthy and positive.