In Life, Parenting

What’s the real difference between a television, tablet or a book for a child?

I get a lot of looks.

To be specific, I get a lot of Mommy Shaming looks from parents and even my own family members who see me willingly hand over the mini iPad to Little Bun and let him go to town on the learning apps I have for him.

(His current favourite is Endless Monsters..)

…and yet, some of these people let their kids watch TV until they’re zombies, and try their best to force books or other things onto them (which they have no interest in).

I don’t really see the big deal with electronics for kids ASIDE from the fact that it is passive and not active, meaning it takes away from time of going outside to run around and play in the park, play soccer, and be active. That’s the only downside I see thus far.

Otherwise, educational learning apps can do a lot.

Even I as an adult, use Duolingo and have immensely improved upon my French as a result (it never hurts to perfect what you know).

For Little Bun, it has taught him numbers which led to math, the alphabet which led to words, and the only videos I veto are the stupid ones where they just dip things in colours. I HATE THOSE. They’re dumb videos, and I’d rather he watch the ones with songs, nursery rhymes and things like that.

It has even taught him social skills and manners. I can talk myself BLUE in the face about saying “Hello” and being polite and giving bisous to family members, but when he sees monsters in a video do it and be kind to each other, he wants to emulate them.


He wants to be kind and tells me what the monsters are doing for and to each other, to which I seize the moment to relate it back to our own lives and situations.

Furthermore, after about an hour or two of this, he gets bored. He doesn’t want the iPad any more. He gets it too easily, and kids only want what they cannot have.

His cousins, are enamoured with the tablet, and (yes) this is where I got looks from my brother-in-law and his wife about letting Little Bun have an iPad, and his cousin was basically drooling over his shoulder, dying to see what the monsters are doing on the app.

Then near to the end of the vacation, his little cousin started pestering his parents for a tablet, and they got super annoyed with him asking (which I can understand).. but I don’t see the difference.

In contrast, if I were to tell him we are going to go play soccer outside, he would immediately shut down the iPad, get dressed and go because Mommy rarely plays soccer with him and he isn’t going to lose this chance to play.

In the nights we were on vacation, I played soccer with him twice a day. Both times, he was the one saying: This is the LAST kick Mommy! .. because he was getting tired.

If they are reading a book or looking at an app to learn letters and words, what is the difference? The medium changes but the end result is the same.

Kids are going to end up doing what you do because you are a role model, and if you’re on your phone all the time – they will be too. If you go out and do things other than be in front of a screen, they will too.

They will also decide for themselves.

My parents on the one hand, are technology Luddites. They cannot spend hours in front of a screen not having grown up with that, and they don’t understand the appeal.

I on the other hand, grew up and love technology so I am constantly around it. I didn’t take after their ‘role modeling’, and chose my own way / path.

So – where do you stand?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. cantaloupe

    As a middle/high school teacher, let me just say that we can entirely tell which students are given endless video game/iPad/phone time and which ones are limited. It’s not necessarily the device that’s the problem so much as the parents who are incapable of giving limits to their children though. As long as you can still enforce limits, it’s not a problem, as far as I’ve seen.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      OH good point. I never thought about that because I do enforce limits on what he can and cannot watch or do.. he doesn’t watch or use garbage…

      Reply
  2. T
    Tasha

    I agree but I do think it’s bad for their eyes. So that’s where I get concerned and try not to let my little one watch as much of the iPad. It’s definitely tough though and I agree it’s been a great way for her to learn songs and nursery rhymes.

    Reply
    1. l
      liteadventurer

      The effects of screen time on a child’s brain is not well known (but there is a long term research study underway), but what is accepted is that an iPad is no more harmful to the eyes than a regular book. There’s a lot of misinformation about this, usually spread by companies that want to sell you useless blue light filtering glasses. It’s a bunch of garbage. Here’s an article about this from the American Academy of Ophthalmology on the subject: https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/is-too-much-screen-time-harming-childrens-vision

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        REALLY. I always wondered about those blue light filtering things. I wanted to buy a pair but did not have time to research deeper on it.

        I just remember reading a book as a kid and squinting a lot because of a lack of light, or the font was too small. On my e-reader I now make the font bigger and I amp up the light so I can see it better. It is far preferable to a book for me.

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Little Bun has learned a ridiculous amount on the iPad, so I have to give it half the parenting credit here.

      Reply
  3. L
    LX

    I’m of the camp that you should do “whatever it takes to survive,” so I don’t judge anyone on their parenting. However I’m a fan of science so there’s this. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/groundbreaking-study-examines-effects-of-screen-time-on-kids-60-minutes/

    I let my 1 year old watch an hour of tv a day with his older sister, it’s inevitable and hey sometimes I have to go to the bathroom or do some work on the computer without little hands helping.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It’s the perfect babysitter. 😛 I give it to them when I have to shower. I simply cannot handle worrying.

      Reply

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