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Monday, 8 April 2013

Are Electronics Bad For Kids? Maybe, But Don't Judge Other Parents!

Today, courtesy of a Facebook friend, I read an article called "Julia Steiny: The Jury’s In, Screen Time Hurts Little Kids."  You can read it here.  This article talks about what we all probably know already; that kids spend entirely too much time in front of the TV and using electronics.  I believe this, trust me I do.  This article struck me however as being a little too judgmental.

I wrote a comment on the article (as I'm writing this it hasn't been approved yet I'm assuming because it has not been posted.)  The comment was this:

"While I think this article is totally valid, I do want to point out another side to it. My 2.5 year old has autism, and she watches tv and spends quite a bit of time on the tablet every day. I find that the television and tablet do as much (if not more!) for her communication and socialization skills as the various therapies I have implemented. Most often I am an active participant in this screen time, interacting with her while she watches her programs and plays her games.

My second point is that not every single parent who is letting their child play on their phone or tablet while out in public is depriving their child of something. (Although I do think that to be the case often! There is definitely overuse in average, neurotypical children.) Sometimes the only way a parent with a special needs child can get out in public, go for a walk, do some shopping, visit somebody etc. is by allowing said child to escape the situation that is overwhelming to them. In this case, I think electronics are being well used.

Anyways my whole point is that you can't judge a book by its cover, and you can't judge a parent without knowing the whole situation! Food for thought, I hope everybody keeps that in mind!"

 Something I have learned from living with autism is that nobody should ever judge other parents.  We each have our own thoughts about electronics and whether or not they are good and useful.  Trust me when I tell you that for some parents, they are literally life changing.

The strides my daughter has taken thanks to Toopy and Binoo, Bubble Guppies and my tablet have been amazing!  I would not change it for the world.  The escape it provides her when she is getting sensory overload is nothing but beneficial.  The ability to use it as a meltdown avoider, priceless.

So before you judge a parent for letting their kid use electronics at what you would deem an inappropriate time, please keep in mind that you don't know the whole story.  You cannot always tell a special needs child is different, sometimes it's invisible.

Thank you to said Facebook friend for a wonderful blog post idea!  (I do not like to name other people on my blog, I feel it is an invasion of their privacy!)

Thoughts on this?  Do you ever catch yourself judging a book by its cover?  Have I changed the way you will look at other parents?  

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