On Fridays I let my son take his LeapPad to school with him so that he can play it in the afternoons. This is the compromise I've come up with as the school shows movies on Friday afternoons. I normally would not have a problem with movie time, except that the school often shows movies that are PG and not appropriate for my son to watch.
Since the school doesn't seem to have a set schedule of what movie they will show when (or any plans on changing their movie policy for only G-rated movies), I've opted him out of this activity. My son is quite happy with this exchange as he found the movies "upsetting" and enjoys his quiet time with his LeapPad.
Of course, I know that I am simply replacing one type of screen time for another. But at least this way, he won't be in tears upon pickup because he saw something in a movie that was scary.
As if I needed another reason to limit his screen time, a recent study in Scientific American has been published about the benefits of parents limiting both amount of time and content. This study, by Dr. Gentile and his research team, was particularly interesting because it started as a survey around parents' interactions with their children's media use. Seven months later, the researchers uncovered some surprising results, finding that the parents who were more involved in screen time limitations had children with less sleep deprivation, less risk of obesity and were getting better grades overall in school.
The causality is not that hard to explain: Every hour a child spends on a screen is an hour less spent on homework/sleep/exploring the world around them. But it is interesting to see the results of those hours accumulated over such a short (only seven months!) span of time.
This information is not likely to make me change my stance on Fridays. After all, I know the content on my son's LeapPad, so he can still enjoy his media time.
What's the last thing you let your child watch? Tell me in the comments.