A Fourth Grader's Perspective on Screen Time


Mark N., fourth grade teacher in IL and CCFC member
This month, I had my students write what I called "Activist Poems". We brainstormed a variety of social issues that affect both adults and children. The list had a variety of topics from smoking to terrorism to homelessness. My contribution to the list was screen time. As I read all of my students' poems, I found that one student, Oula, chose this topic to write about. All of my students' poems were powerful, but I felt this one needed to be shared. Here is a 4th grader's perspective on screen-time: 
I am against kids having too much screen time
I wonder what makes tech so appealing
I hear beeps and blinks from a million iPads
I see parents neglecting their kids, telling them to watch TV.
I want people to socialize more, face to face, not through Facebook or Instagram
I am a rebel against your X-box and Wii.
I dream of children just going outside to play.
I feel that you should shut your laptop for just a little while.
I touch the minds of children zoned out through Madden Mobile, Halo, Minecraft, and YouTube.
I say that turning up your ear buds is tuning out your world.
I help kids see that a book page is better than a Kindle screen.
I am fighting toys and games against your device.





I think as adults we believe kids are more interested in screen time than they are with books or playing outside. It is refreshing to read this 4th grader's account of wanting to convince her friends to change those habits and to have an understanding of what her peers are missing when they are spending their time isolated with their screens. I hope she feels confident enough in herself to become a "tempered radical" for change and persuades the rest of the class through her actions what they are all missing.

Parents and Screen-Time

Wow, what a powerful poem from a clearly insightful 4th grader. I find the portion where she mentions parents "neglecting their kids," to be of particular concern. I have witnessed families out to eat at restaurants all sitting at the table on their phones, who do not even engage in conversation for the entire meal. I have witnessed children tugging on their parents' coat tails or purses trying to get their attention as they parse through e-mails, text messages, and social media. I think many parents appear more involved in their children's lives on social media than they actually are in real life. Whatever happened to just throwing the ball around the backyard and not having to post photos of it?

Screen-free week needs to be practiced by adults as well. We need to start setting positive examples and teaching children what is really important in life. If adults are too busy on their screens to pay attention to a child when they have minor requests, then that child no longer turns to that adult when they encounter major issues and then our society is really in trouble.

children and screen time

Main problem my ten year old grandchild has brought to her counsellor is that her mother has no time to be with her because she is always on the phone, playing games or texting. Now they have made a bargain to have some time every day without the phone--it's a beginning,

When asked in my home if she wanted to watch TV, she turned to me quite shocked at the question. "No Granny! This is a 'doing'- house"

anti-device humans

As infant specialist and author Magda Gerber (Founder of Resources for Infant Educarers®) stated, "What we teach is ourselves", citing the huge influence adults hold in young children's lives. "Be careful what you teach because it may interfere with what you want the child to learn" has been her cautionary warning. As one RIE parent involved in The Educaring® Approach told it after the years of participation in Gerber's prominent Parent/Infant Guidance Classes, "I've learned how to show up for my kids" -- brains can change! Just ask yourself why would the way we focus our attention matter for the quality of our lives? We can find and see our true selves!

Smart student!

ah, this is so refreshing to read!  When will educators and parents rise up against the all-consuming screen world?  We are being pushed to use it in our classrooms and at home. We can just say NO. Our kids don't benefit from this stuff, and it's inappropriate and irresponsible for preschool and elementary school students to be using tech devices in the classroom. Parents and educators need to stand up against this....all starts with local efforts by passionate people.  Thanks CCFC for the info and tools. Keep up the good work!