If You Couldn’t Blame “Screens”

Screens are a popular scapegoat in mainstream parenting culture.

People often just want a reason beyond their own actions to blame.

So when a child is considered to be too distracted or too angry or too frustrated; screens are targeted.

If they aren’t sleeping enough or eating well or maintaining hygiene to the parental standards; screens are targeted.

If basically anything is confronting the adult about the child’s “behaviour”; screens are targeted.

Screens are an easy answer. Screens are an easy fix.

Remove screens. Remove the problem. What a relief.

But what if you didn’t want to compromise your morality and enact controlling measures on another human being?

What if controlling them in the first place was the actual catalyst to what you are experiencing now?

What if you decided to stop blaming screens for everything that isn’t comfortable in your life?

What if you actually did the work to process your conditioning, repair your relationships and problem solve any residual conflict together?

Instead of sweeping all those uncomfortable feelings under the carpet with the tablet and TV?

Oh but screens are addictive! It’s a different kind of control, a kind type of control.

But riddle me this; if screens were inherently addictive, wouldn’t everybody be addicted? They’re enjoyable, yes but addictive is different.

Addictive implies a negative impact on your life and most children’s use is negatively impacting their parent’s lives rather than their own. And that is not the child’s responsibility to resolve alone.

Addiction is a symptom of disconnection, of trauma; it is more about what is happening within the person and their circumstances than the object of their relief.

Removing the options, controlling the circumstances doesn’t address the root cause, it’s a band aid in water that will likely see the person transfer their escapism elsewhere rather then process their needs. It keeps them trapped in conflict.

And being the person to control? Changes completely the dynamic of your relationship, it furthers the disconnect which is the complete opposite of what a person who is struggling needs.

If something is causing issues within that person’s own life then they can recognise this with love. And when they want things to be different, then that could  be worked through with that person consensually.

If you are concerned, it can feel awful to do nothing but you can do something other than control. You could join them. Observe and hear what they are experiencing. Explore it together. Understand the appeal. Connect.

Doing this will make very clear what is most important. And how control would only destroy those priorities and resolve nothing.

We do not limit screens. We do not limit connection.

Screens are not disconnecting, our prejudices and subsequent control regarding them is.

Further reading:
Short Circuiting Control
The Self-Regulation Lie
When I Say Control, You Say Support

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  1. I’m right with you, Jessica.

    There are so many ways we have found to connect via ‘screens’ – shared viewing and game play can create so many loving lasting memories and build connections.

    That whole refusal by some people to acknowledge the massive diversity of possibilities and opportunities gained through the magic portal of a screen can be so frustrating!

  2. This is easily one of the worst parenting articles I have ever read, in fact I was almost sure it was satire.

    Your thoughts are all over the place, “addiction” “control”… there really isn’t a rational thought in your ramblingss.

    It’s not about control, it’s about being a responsible parent and setting reasonable limitations on unhealthy habits and activities . Unlimited screen time is not healthy, it increases the amount of time a child spends being sedentary, it can disrupt their circadian rhythm, reducing the amount and the quality of their sleep and it limits their exposure to other, more beneficial activities. If you’re leaving your kid to sit on a phone or computer all day, you’re lazy and you’re irresponsible.

    1. It would be like a different language if you are invested in your “right” to control children (for whatever intention).

      Nobody said anything about leaving children on screens all day, it’s very telling of your opinion of children to think that would be the only outcome of a child with autonomy.

      1. Either you’re uneducated or English isn’t your first language, because you can’t compose a complete or rational thought, just illogical and nonsensical rambling.

      2. How rude! I personally find all your posts to be super reassuring and majorly helpful in my day to day life. They are succinct nuggets of unschooling sense. Thank you

  3. Hi, thanks for another brilliant post! 😊 We Have had free screen time the last couple of months or so with a 5 yr old and a 2yr old We travel quite a bit so sometimes We are out of wifi and We have never had a tv in the house However, when We do Have it They watch it alot, 3-4 hrs, a day When They are not it is because We, mum and dad, want to do something outdoors away from house Back in the house They are straight back to it We Have all noticed incl our 5 yr old How their moods, tolerance, patience are all struggling We are on a experiment to See How it changes with No ipad/screen for a week This was discussed and agreed on by all of us!! Will be very interesting to See what comes out if it!! 😊🙃

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