Tech Talk Tuesday #84: How do you feel about screen-free zones?
I mentioned to some colleagues recently how surprised I was that so many parents give kids screens to keep them occupied during a doctor’s visit. By being on a screen, the parents are missing out on an opportunity to have their children experience the health profession, to be present during the exam and interact with the whole health team.
About an hour later I had a big “aha” moment. What if all pediatricians in the country have signs in the waiting room that said something like the following:
"For children’s development, having times off screens is important. This doctor’s office is a ‘screen-free zone’ for kids. We want them to be engaged in the visit and who knows—maybe they will want to go into the healthcare profession someday."
Clearly, if a child is frantic without a screen certain exceptions would apply—and this would be a good time to screen a family about screen-time rules.
My family has several screen-free zones: the car (exceptions are made for Google Maps) and the bedrooms at bedtime. My daughter, Tessa's room, is mainly a screen-free zone which includes her cell phone.
It is one thing to say a place is screen-free, and it is quite another to enforce it—I get it! For schools, I have been learning of more and more teachers using hanging pocket organizers where students put their phones when they walk into the classroom. Enforcing at home is tricky too—it is all about the frequent calm conversations which is why we do TTTs.
So for this Tech Talk Tuesday here are some questions to help you start a conversation:
- What do you think of the idea of pediatrician offices being screen-free? (sadly, the pediatrician may be using a screen to type in data—something I never do when I am seeing patients—I do all my charting outside of the room.)
- What screen-free zones, if any, do you have in your home or school?
- Do you have ideas for screen-free zones outside the home?