I don’t like to see my kids staring at their phones.
I worry about the potentially negative effects. Are their smartphones discouraging actual interactions? Do they create feelings of depression and loneliness (like this article states)? Are their devices minimizing healthy activity and creativity?
Maybe, but maybe not.
Last week, instead of asking my kids to put their phones down, I decided to sit next to them and see what they were looking at.
I wasn’t surprised to see social media and games, but I was surprised to learn they also like watching educational videos. Here are some of the things my kids like to view on their smartphones (usually via YouTube);
My 12-year-old loves:
Simple History — Multiple cartoons that tell interesting facts and personal stories from WWII. When I asked him about it, he proceeded to recall stories about tanks being cemented to the ground to make bunkers and fascinating aerial dog fights.
Antique Rusty Cleaver Restoration — Did you know that some people can turn a $2 yard sale hatchet/knife/cleaver into it’s stunning original form?
My 17-year-old watches:
Matt Stonie — A competitive eater. I sat with my son and watched Matt eat 10,120 calories of chili cheese fries (yuck!).
Wood carving — When he wants to fall asleep, watching someone transform a tree stump into amazing artwork can be quite relaxing.
Tfue — a famous Fortnite player. My son believes he will get better by watching Tfue’s skills (not really educational, but still interesting).
And on Instagram — #jerryoftheday and #firstteamalljerry. Both feature snow skiing mishaps, sometimes funny and sometimes painful to watch.
I know limited screen time is good, but now I ask my kids what they are looking at before I tell them to put their devices away.
What do your kids look at when they are on their phones?