Not all screen time is created equal

Tech Talk Tuesday (TTT) question of the week: "What are your go-to passive screen time distractions?"

If your child’s life has included a Minecraft phase, you know what I’m talking about. There’s the beginner level of the game that you play, walking from place to place collecting resources for survival, and there are the deeper levels, that can include creating entire neighborhoods to programming your own action sequences and building tools that you make available to other players.

In other words, you can play in passive mode or you can juice up your creative powers and be a contributing participant in an innovating Minecraft community.

When I get online, I can waste a lot of time alongside the best of them…browsing, falling down an internet rabbit hole in the name of research, tuning out other obligations I don’t want to face in the moment. I look up, and it’s hours later. Sound familiar?

And then there are those incredible screen time opportunities — finding inspiration in a favorite blog, discovering the exact piece of research data I was missing, laughing uncontrollably with the whole family at a funny movie scene we’ll recall for years, gathering momentum and notes for my next project.

Screen life is full of contradictions:

Consume (“I’m going shopping!”) or create (“Wow, you shot and edited that film on your ipad?”)

Connect (“that’s just what I was thinking?”) or disengage (“if I look busy, no one will bother me”)

Discover (“that gives me a great idea!” or distract (“I just need to ‘veg out’ for a while”)

Recognizing these differences means we don’t treat all screen time as the same; we know it’s more complex than that and consider that reality when creating screen time rules with our family.

This week, try using your tech conversation to notice the different qualities screen time can have. 

  1. What are some of your go-to passive screen time distractions?
  2. What are some of the creative ways you use your device?
  3. How do you use your screen to connect? To “get away”?