As we walked into the restaurant, I glanced down at a baby in a car seat – and took a second look. There she was, iPad in both hands, watching a preschool video and tapping on the cutesy characters in it. She couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 months old, but her parents had given it to her to keep her entertained as they waited for a table.
I could see the future: 12 years from now they’ll enter the same restaurant, and she’ll have her head bent over her phone. As he walks through the door, her dad will look over his shoulder and snarl, “You’re always on that thing! Can’t you put it away for once?” And she’ll shrug and continue what she’s doing.
The Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.org) recommends zero screen time for children under two years old, but that’s not the main point. What bothers me is that this baby’s parents are starting her obsession with electronics so early The good news is that it’s never too late to make changes. If you see more of the top of your teen’s head than his or her face, you have every right to set some limits, such as “No phones at the table” or “No phones while we watch this movie together.” It’s a form of courtesy, which isn’t shown nearly enough in modern society.
Just be sure to practice what you preach!