Screen time: Unask the question

Screen time: Unask the question

Should kids have screen time limits? Some parents have an unwavering, “Yes, of course, research proves it!” argument. Other responds with a less deterministic, “Eh, who cares?” And then there’s the messy middle of, “It depends.”

There is an alternative, and it’s simply, “mu”: A Japanese word for unasking the question because it’s fundamentally flawed or its conditions do not meet reality.

So, should kids have screen time limits? Mu. Unask the question. Its conditions don’t meet reality.

There’s a lot to this question. When we ask it, how much emotion is embedded in a fear that kids won’t stop if they start?

Yes, kids might just continue for hours on end. And yes, kids might stop if we force a screen time limit. But to what effect? They might end up watching stories in secret, lie, spend more time with friends where there are fewer rules or it might show up in suppressed anger and frustration.

“Should kids have screen time limits?”, is a fundamentally flawed question.

Mu. Unask the question. Ask a different one.

Here’s one alternative: How can we connect better with our kids? How about baking, swimming, feeding the ducks or painting? None of these requires force, just an invitation to do something interesting together.

Of course, this isn’t meant to be a silver bullet question and might be irrelevant to you. Mu. Unask the question and ask a different one.

This is involved parenthood and requires a little bit of creativity but it’s also the type of parenthood that leads to beautiful, fun, loving and respectful relationships.

Mu. Unask the question.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema