I stupidly read a post this morning that someone shared from The Huffington Post called “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.” I knew better than to click on it, but if something is going to harm my child, I should know, right? The fury that ensued after finishing the article was just as I expected.
I have a very large problem with this article, and articles like this in general. I would venture that the a good portion of the people who will read and listen to this article are the parents who just made it past worrying about their child dying of SIDS if they did or didn’t do a numerous list of things and parents who are already overwhelmed because their kid only likes cheese food product and spits out the locally-grown, organic baby food.
I remember all of the articles/books that mentioned SIDS when Lillian was tiny. They made me lose what little sleep I was getting by piling on a fresh layer of worry. But, as we enter into full toddler-hood, I notice a new type of article emerging—articles that trade the acronym SIDS for the phrase [gasp] developmentally delayed and [double gasp] obesity.
While there is nothing wrong with wanted to make sure your child is healthy, fit, and developmentally on track (just like there is nothing wrong with you not wanting your child to die of SIDS), by constantly throwing new worries in our face, the Internet and social media is [sometimes] frankly taking the fun out of parenting.
Here are just some of the problems I have with this article:
- The overall tone that if you don’t ban technology from your home, then you are a bad parent who wants a lazy, obese, developmentally delayed child.
- One conclusion that this article specifically makes is that a child under the age of two should have access to no technology. At all. Nada. Now, if your house is like our house then Veggie Tales (or other cartoon) has been the only reason dinner was cooked on time or your hair was combed. In fact, in our house, Lillian dances any time a song comes on (exercise…ish! score!).
- Governments should ban this?! REALLY?!? I’d personally much rather see them ban GMO’s or energy drinks or a number of other things.
- The article gives little room for exceptions, such as Face Time with grandma or grandpa or perhaps Skype with a deployed father.
So to the authors and publishers of these “well-meaning” articles, please stop. Just stop. Stop making me feel guilty. I already have enough on my plate. I’m trying to make sure my child is healthy, safe, and loved, and frankly you’re taking away from that by bogging me down with worries of my child being “developmentally stunted” and “obese”. And, instead of empowering mothers, you are just giving us more piles of feces to fling at each other in judgment. I’m done with you. Maybe you should be banned. And, I still feel guilty over the non-organic lemon yogurt and Cheerios I gave my child for breakfast.