Thoughts on screen time, inspired by the following question:
Is it possible to unschool while seriously limiting or putting boundaries on the media factor? To provide them with other learning opportunities (books, crafts, the outdoors, etc.) or are screens essential?
It is possible.
But the experience might not be as wide, vast, intriguing and ‘sparkly.’
It is not about whether screens are essential — it is about freedom and connection and examining all of one’s fears about everything. It is about offering/providing/facilitating a vast array of opportunities and not getting hung up on which ones will promote ‘learning’.
If one is afraid of the influence of screens then that can come between the parent and child. The same could be said of any number of influences.
In my opinion (and personal experience) unschooling flourishes in an environment of openness and connection, not rules and restrictions.
But then again I could replace the word ‘unschooling’ with ‘people’ or ‘families’ or ‘children’….
“_________ flourish in an environment of openness and connection not rules and restrictions.”
We have not always been unschoolers. We came back to unschooling from a Waldorf homeschooling time. During that time the children had little/no screen exposure.
That time was difficult for all of us. The kids were limited and couldn’t really follow their interests and passions as they might have liked. I became the Warden — making sure that ‘less-wholesome’ influences were kept away. None of us liked it and all the relationships in the family were, hmmmm, not damaged, maybe less genuine and authentic during that time.
Once we as parents (gradually) lessened the controls and respected the various interests and passions (and modes of acquiring knowledge and information) it really opened us up as a family. Now they are passionate and sparkly and happy, authentic children who come to us to share their interests and ideas. That wasn’t happening as much before.
Simply put: being afraid of screen time limited us, limited our children’s imaginations, limited our relationships, limited everyone’s potential. Now that they don’t have arbitrary screen restrictions (the restrictions we do have are real ones — 3 children but limited electronic resources, especially the Wii) they spend their time creating and doing and being and enjoying.
That was several months ago…since then I have wanted to write a post about commercials. In defense of commercials, actually. But that’s a post for another day. 😉