Every time I hear something about limiting screen time I cannot help but think about how poorly the concept has been thought out.
If we talked about “food time” instead maybe that would help us think that while time matters (eating for hours each day is probably a bad idea), how long you eat probably matters far less than what you’re eating. You have to think about both things. Funneling cheetos for 30 minutes a day is worse than eating carrots for an hour.1
Screen time isn’t a single thing. It’s an insane range of things. There’s lots of screen time that is of Twinkie quality but there are many other options. If I read a book on a device is it screen time or is that reading? If I’m coding for an hour? Editing video? Video chat with my parents? When we reduce things to this extent we end up doing things that ignore the actual problem.
So the next time someone on the radio or TV talks about screen time as if it were a single thing please join me in envisioning the giant cartoon heads depicted below.
1 Funneling cheetos may not even qualify as actually eating. It’s a chemical endurance sport that will likely be featured in the next Olympic games