But the ever-present touchscreens make me incredibly uneasy—probably because they make parenting so easy. There is always one at hand to make restaurants and long drives and air travel much more pleasant. The tablet is the new pacifier.
I agree with Honan’s concluding paragraph that there isn’t a clear-cut answer for appropriate boundaries when it comes to our kids and their usage of iOS devices.
The goal has to be teaching (and then enforcing) moderation and boundaries. Heck, even the most healthy things our kids could be doing — like happily playing sports outside with friends — still needs boundaries and moderation. “When it’s family dinner time, that means it’s time to come inside and stop playing outside.”
This is something Anna and I talk about often, and we keep coming back to the basic guiding principle of active and engaged parenting. Letting our sons play a learning game on the iPad or watch an episode of The Magic School Bus isn’t wrong in and of itself, and we don’t want them to grow up feeling shame related to the usage of digital devices. But neither are we going to let them zone out for hours watching cartoons on an iPhone so we can live our lives without the “inconvenience” of little boys who constantly want our attention. That “inconvenience” is what the beauty and responsibility of parenting is all about.