Monday, 17 April 2017
Screen Addiction - Is it a Boy Thing?
My Little Man is the cutest, funniest little six year old. Of course, I'd say that, he's my precious boy. One thing does worry me about him though, his total addiction to screens. He just wants the laptop, or the PS4, or failing those, my phone! When he is told he needs to take some time out from screens he just complains that he is bored. He has toys, and he loves board games. He loves baking and crafting and even drawing and writing. But it's so hard to get him to focus on anything else. He doesn't even watch much television.
His older sisters like screens too, but while Star would happily stay glued to her pc all day long, if she's told to have a break she will without complaint. She'll draw or read or watch television. She will play with her sister or go out in the garden. Boo, is the only one who actively pulls herself away from screens and goes off to do something else. She really knows how to play and her toys get a lot of use. She also loves baking and arts and crafts and loves to watch a movie. She is definitely the least addicted to screens.
Now, because the older two are girls this leads me to think that The Little Man is the way he is because he is a boy, but is that true? When the girls were his age they barely went on the pc or laptop, it wasn't until they were much older that they discovered the lure of screens.
For my older children it was different. We didn't have a pc in the house until my eldest was twelve years old and even then the Internet was by dial-up and very unreliable. They took turns on the one and only computer and it really wasn't the centre of their lives. My eldest daughter had her first laptop at the age of fourteen. By the time Star came along, computers and laptops had become a daily feature in our lives and even though she would climb up to the family pc and bash a few buttons by the age of three, she wasn't really interested in it until she was about eight.
One thing my older kids did have was games consoles. My eldest had his first console at the age of six and he was instantly addicted. It was hard to get him to do anything else, despite him having lots of toys. If friends came around to play he would sit in front of the television playing his games. The only time he didn't play them was when we were out and about, which fortunately was quite a lot. Although, when he went to stay with nanny his console would go with him.
Or Maybe it's a generation thing. When I was young there was no screens, we didn't have computers, games consoles or mobile phones. We only had our toys to play with and of course our friends. I was outside at every possible chance. They were fun days but my mum was strict and I was not allowed out as long as my other friends, and she had to know exactly where I was. It must have been worrying for her, I know they say times were different back then, but were they really? Children still got hurt and went missing surely. When my older children were younger, I too would worry whenever they went out with friends. If they were late back I'd be stressed to the limit. I was much happier when they wanted to play at home and would often have a house and garden full of their friends. The older children seemed to have the best of both worlds, lots of outside fun and friends and screen time too.
I have three daughters and two sons and I have to say that if I compare them then it's the boys that have spent the most time addicted to screens. However, out of my three daughters only one of them would prefer to do something else other than play with screens. So could it be a generation thing instead? Is it just the normal thing to be glued to some sort of screen for at least part of the day? I spend two or three hours a day on my laptop, but I do a lot of reading and writing on it. If I didn't have a laptop then I'd be writing it down in books or maybe I'd still have a typewriter? My hubby spends the least time on the laptop, but he does seem to be forever glued to Social Media on his mobile.
Back to my little boy, is it so bad that he loves screens? Of course, I do limit his time on them, and make sure he gets plenty of fresh air. But, sometimes we have abandoned a craft session because he just wanted to get back to his game. Is it a boy thing? Why are his sisters less addicted? Is it his age, will he grow out of it? Or will it get worse?
I'd love to know what you think, is it a boy thing? Do you have a boy that is addicted to screens? Do you have a girl that is addicted? Is there a difference?
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Screen Addiction - Is it a Boy Thing?
Anne Stone Sweet
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