By Evan Kurtz, Head of Middle School
After seeing Mr. Mensah’s tweet asking the question, “What Kind of Screen Time Parent Are You?” I was intrigued to find out. So I went to the NPR website and took the quiz. Nine questions, and at the end I was considered, “Screen Time Savvy.” While certainly, I am pleased to hear that, I also feel some trepidation about how I answered a few of the questions, so I reflected on some of my responses.
The first question asked about when I check my phone, and I had to really think about it. Using Google as a resource is a fantastic way to answer a question or continue a conversation, but I am cognizant of ensuring I use my brain first, before immediately turning to the internet for answers. Along with this, is the push-pull between being available to work or family or friends, when the temptation to check e-mail is ever-present.
Another question that gave me pause had to do with the hour before bedtime and screen use by my kids. While I certainly understand that the hour before bedtime should be screen-free, and I am pleased to report a current state of detente between parents and children in my house, it hasn’t been easy to get there, and I anticipate the next strain in relations regarding the subject.
A final question where I definitely vacillated between responses was, “My kids use screens…” and while I do not completely agree with my answer of, “whenever I turn my back,” it had the best fit. This comes from acknowledging the powerful pull of devices (on them as well as me) and that the navigation of how and when to use devices is ever-present. As my children have matured, it is now easier to have thoughtful discussions about the topic. However, there still are times when as a parent I have to put my foot down.
Screen time is a challenge for each of us individually, and all of us as a family. Whenever we can involve all of us as active participants in the decision-making, we can create parameters that everyone feels good about and can abide. So what is my final answer to the question? What kind of screen time parent am I? I like to think an engaged one, at times a nervous one, acknowledging sometimes a hypocritical one, and looking forward to being a thoughtful one.
Click here to take the quiz for yourself.