Years after years, we have more and more evidence that too much access to screens (phones, computers) for kids is not good for them. This is even a societal problem, more and more raised by pediatrician and health authorities; we've read countless articles about this.
As an example, I've noticed with my 9 y.o. son that too much exposure can lead to "addiction-like" reactions (severe anger when he doesn't have access to a video game, etc.).
So the solution could be rather simple:
- limit the exposure to screens to a few hours per week
- explain to him that, for his good, we want him to explore other things (reading, music, playing without a screen (Lego, or whatever he wants), etc.), instead of being addicted to screens
- I'm sure he will understand
- we (parents) both agree about this
All of this would work, but there's something I'm not comfortable with:
I, as a child in the 90s, hugely benefitted from a nearly "full-access" to this "new thing" arrived at home: the computer.
My parents noticed I loved that, and I started programming before the age of 10, etc. (very few video game and mostly programming).
The fact I could do (nearly) as much computer as I wanted has been decisive in the rest of my life: my today's life, my job and my passions, is hugely the result of this early-access to computers, the freedom to spend hours on complex computer problems at the age of 10 or 11, the learning of perseverance / of going down the rabbit hole (at that time, the lack of internet access meant spending days solving technical problems to which a simple Google search today would give the answer).
All of this was possible because my parents trusted me and didn't stop me from programming for hours.
Based on this:
- I'm uncomfortable with a rule like "Sorry son, you can only have a few hours per week"
- But on the other hand, today is not the 90s anymore, and "screen access" quickly means internet access (even if I started putting parental control), "passive" phone usage (using pre-made games, which is different to programming or other creative activites), very addictive cellphone video-games with loot boxes, etc.
TL;DR: How to properly set time limits to access to computers and phones to my kid, whereas I benefitted from nearly unlimited access in the 90s, that shaped my life?