Garrett

It finally happened. My daughter figured out how to buy something on Amazon while playing games on my iPad.

My husband and I agreed on allowing our daughter to play games, mostly educational, on my iPad. This is only allowed every other day, for thirty minutes, and she must have what we call a “token,” something she’s earned by doing small chores around the house, such as helping me load laundry, feeding the cats, etc. If she doesn’t have any tokens, which happens because she doesn’t always want to help, she can’t play on the iPad. 

This method of earning tokens for certain privileges, we learned through a parenting method called “The Nurtured Heart Approach.” While we don’t follow the system stringently, the variation we use works for us. 

You can easily find a plethora of articles and studies about the negative effects of too much screen time for children. In a New York Times article, titled, “W.H.O. Says Limited or No Screen Time for Children Under 5,” Emily S. Rueb reports that the World Health Organization says children one year and under, should have no screen time, while children 2-5 should have less than an hour a day. All of this should be done to “result in healthier adults” because children would then get better sleep and more physical exercise.

This seems like common sense, and it is. Yet, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of overuse. I’ll admit there are days when I need that extra time to simply clean, organize, or work, and letting my daughter play a little longer is easy. I get stuff done and she is entertained for the most part. Though sometimes she does get bored. I doubt I’m the only person who does this. And I’m sure parents did this with television, too.

Despite the negative connotations that come with the words “screen time,” I do think there are benefits. These types of devices are the way of the future and exposing our children to them will only help their future success. I remember going to computer lab in elementary, junior high, and high school. My dad was a software engineer and showed me a lot of basics on the computer and even a little more when it came to Windows. I learned these things as a child, and they’ve benefited me as an adult. We don’t want our children to be left behind. It’s all about moderation and common sense.

My daughter ended up ordering a witch costume on Amazon. It must have shown up in my favorites, since I’d recently ordered her Halloween costume from the same website. She had no idea what she’d done, so it was hard to be upset with her. Honestly, I found it comical.

When searching online for how to stop this from happening again, I came across an article where the author wrote about how his daughter accidentally ordered over $400 worth of merchandise. It’s amazing how easy it can happen. When I asked my daughter how she did it, she said “I just kept pressing button after button.” 

When she was done explaining, I immediately logged out of Amazon on my device, organized her games together, and we discussed what she should and shouldn’t do on the iPad. I guess I’ll see what happens the next time she’s ready to use a token.

 

Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.

 

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