The Heart of Screen Time

Helping our children navigate the digital world with healthy habits

My daughter eats a balanced diet and gets plenty of sleep. My hope is that her heart is protected not only physically, but also emotionally. Two years ago at her wellness checkup, the doctor recommended that our family purchase filtering software to protect our daughter from accidentally stumbling on inappropriate Internet sites. So this year when the doctor asked my husband and me if we had a filtering system and we shamefully hung our heads, he highly encouraged us to do so. Again. This time his request seemed more urgent, possibly because some studies have found that the average age at which children are exposed to pornography on the Internet is now 8 years old. My daughter is 8.

Safekeeping

The evening following my daughter's doctor appointment, we subscribed to a filtering system that blocks access to inappropriate Internet content. Filtering systems can also be installed on mobile devices. Even with the safeguards in place, my husband and I still closely supervise my daughter's screen time. However, there is no way that we can possibly be by her side every time she's on the playground, sitting in the backseat of a carpool ride, or playing at a friend's home.

The risk is real. A few weeks ago, as I casually chatted with some folks in the lobby of a church, I noticed my daughter and two other children sitting on the floor, laughing as they viewed an iPod Touch. I excused myself and told my daughter that it was time to go.

"Aw, Mom, do we have to go?"

"What were ya' watching?" I asked casually.

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May 25

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