It happens every time. A study comes out highlighting just how much time our kids are spending online and in front of screens, and the world freaks out. Kids today! What are we going to do with them?
Well, we can start by unclutching those pearls and considering this: While a new study from Common Sense Media estimates that tweens spend some six hours a day consuming media and teens spend nine, their moms are spending some eight hours and 37 minutes a day doing exactly the same thing.
Like mother, like daughter (and son), huh?
In fact, when SheKnows took a look at the data relating to moms and their screen habits, the fact is, our kids are falling right in line behind us. Take a look:
Now, one could say that moms are acting as poor influences on their kids, and certainly there is some merit to the argument that if you can’t put down that darn smartphone to have a conversation with your kids, you’re role-modeling rude behavior.
On the other hand, most parents spend a lot of time on media because it’s the way the world works. We check our office email in the grocery store line to achieve work-life balance (aka actually get to see our kids once in a while). We Skype with friends who live across the world because hey, we can do that nowadays! We hop on Facebook to send out invites to our kids’ birthday parties without having to lick an envelope or buy a stamp. We hit up Pinterest to find Crock-Pot meals our kids will actually eat and, while we’re there, pick out a few crafts the kids can turn into gifts for the teacher this holiday. Heck, sometimes we’re just looking up random things on Google because we’re curious, and we did learn way back in kindergarten that there’s never a stupid question, so we might as well ask someone, even if it’s a search engine.
Of course, sometimes we blow a whole afternoon bingeing on something good on Netflix because it’s been that kind of week and we need an escape. And sometimes our kids do too.
When studies come out about kids and media, it behooves parents to stop and consider why it is we ourselves use media. Then consider this: Might our kids be doing the same thing sometimes — iMessaging friends, reading up on something they want to know more about or just blowing off a little steam?
Sure, we need to watch what it is our kids are doing and how much time they spend in front of screens. But as our kids’ first teachers, we need to look at what it is we’re doing too.