Guidance from leading paediatricians says that there is little evidence screen use for children is harmful in itself.
“Thank God for that,” said parent Darren Jones. “Our iPad is an invaluable parenting tool. I say ‘tool’ but my son Stanley actually calls the tablet Daddy and says ‘Darren’s on charge’ whenever I’m in bed – which thanks to ‘Daddy’ is far more than it used to be!”
Experts say it is important that the use of devices does not replace exercising and time with family.
“Let’s be honest, spending time with an electronic device is far better for Stanley’s development than spending time with me. Last weekend we went to a National Trust property and Stan asked me why a deer had one antler missing. I obviously didn’t have a bloody clue but we rushed back to the café where there was wifi and Siri filled him in.
“As for exercise, Stanley and his sister get tons of it physically fighting over what to watch, snatching devices from each other and running away screaming. It’s all really healthy.”
It’s also recommended that children should not use devices in the hour before bedtime because of evidence that they can harm sleep.
“Hmm, not sure about this one. Who’s going to read them a story if not Tom Hardy on CBeebies? I can’t think of a single alternative way to implement this valuable part of the bedtime routine.”
Mealtimes can be good opportunities for screen-free zones.
“Bollocks!” said Darren “Without the distraction of Mummy – by which I mean my wife’s iPhone perched on the kitchen table – Stanley would never be distracted enough to unwittingly eat vegetables. You see – we’re good parents and make sure he gets his five a day. The internet told us to.”
Younger children need face to face social interaction and screens are no substitute for this.
“Well, that’s what school’s for isn’t it?” said Darren. “We’ve just got Stanley a place in a fantastic new Primary – they’re really tech savvy and his new teacher Mrs iPad Pro seems really nice.”