Parenting hypocrisy?

Welcome to our Technology Issue!

Yes, it’s that time of year when we address one of the biggest distractions human children have ever known — digital media. 

Given our issue theme, I thought this might be a good time to return to the story of my 8-year-old son and his technology use.

Maybe you remember how, in our June Issue, I wrote about the success I had in scaling back screen time for my son to 1 to 2 hours per day. (Check out the online safety story in the pages to come for new tech recommendations from the AAP.)

As usual, I had it all figured out (or at least under control). And, as usual, I was wrong

One month after my words hit print, something big happened: Pokemon Go! 

Then came Just Dance 2016, introduced at my son’s summer-care program. 

My son loved both tremendously. I was torn. Both of these forms of screen-time were inspiring him (and me) to get up and out and do things: We explored our new neighborhood on bike literally for the first time entirely because of Pokemon Go!, and we even conquered a 10-mile bike ride because of it, too (with a LOT of stopping to catch Rattatas).

At home, it was all about the dancing: Instead of sitting like a bump on a log for his requisite 30 minutes of screen time, my kid was telling me to get on my dancing clothes so we could flail our way through Blame and Let’s Groove.

I was getting exercise because of screen time. How could I resist that?

So I turned myself into a hypocrite and let the screen-time limit more than double.

We weren’t right back where we started (unlimited), but it went like all parenting goes: Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it changes, and your perfect rules/plans/kids/you have to adjust. 

I’m happy to say — due to the novelty wearing off — we’re no longer obsessed with the games mentioned above, but I still struggle to force myself to set screen-time limits and stick to them. I’m trying. And I haven’t given up. And I feel good about that.

On that note, I want to announce that this will be the last time we use a Technology theme for our December issue. 

In 2017, we’re going to change our December theme to Travel (formerly our May theme) to help families plan for holiday vacations, spring-break trips and adventures in the year ahead. And we’re changing our May issue to a brand-new theme — Special Needs — a huge topic area we’ve been wanting to explore more deeply for a long time.

So Happy Holidays and Happy New Year: See you in 2017!