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WE Are the Reason Kids Are on Screens

Lenore Skenazy on

A rant. Sorry. But this culture is driving me nuts!

It is BLIND to the idea that kids CAN and in recent history HAVE done some things, on their own, no parents involved, and this was GOOD. Even HEALTHY.

But one "screen-time specialist" just emailed me with this "helpful" tip on how to get kids off their phones: Have families come up with "non-screen activities."

I emailed back: "Like what?"

Her reply: "Together, plan a trip to a science museum and look up the exhibits you want to see."

Why is this making my heart pound like a near-miss car crash?


1) There is simply no notion of the idea that kids can or should spend any time NOT doing something "educational." Make every moment a lesson! Enriching! Teachable! Maybe they can write their college essay about it!

2) Her idea works ONE TIME for ONE AFTERNOON, making it seem as if any "non-screen time" requires D-Day-like planning.

3) The parent now has a NEW DUTY, which is to "help organize" (totally organize) an outing and then accompany their kid on it. And egads, the money this requires! The tickets, the parking, the gas. The gift shop! And the healthy snacks you must schlep! And, if you work, the time you must take off. Surely your boss will understand and compensate you, right? Your child needs a screen-free afternoon!

4) There is zero mention of, "Heck, kids have entertained themselves forever. Send them outside and they'll come up with something to do. Give them a flip phone or walkie-talkie if you're worried."


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