YouTube Kids and the App Store have been instrumental in helping me maintain my sanity for the last couple of months. When the lockdown started, and schools closed, I was bursting with creative ideas of how to keep my three-year-old entertained and stimulated.
We did not have a rigid schedule in place, but we had some arts and crafts ideas that she enjoyed very much.
When the lockdown was extended the second time, I ran out of ideas, energy, and inspiration. This is when the devices in my house replaced the arts and crafts we did together.
I cannot account for how long she spends on my phone, but it’s a couple of hours a day. At times, she would even pretend like she cannot hear me calling her name when she is watching something.
This is why I am so quick to hand her the phone. I am working from home, so I am in desperate need of silence at times and do not have the capacity to have a tea party.
Then she sits right there on the couch, silent as a mouse, navigating through the phone, looking for something new to watch. I am very amazed at how savvy she has become with navigating my iPhone. All I have to do is unlock it, and she will open the app she wants and the rest is history.
I have written and read countless articles on the effects of too much screen time on children. Language and thinking are the two most affected areas of development in toddlers that use devices for more than two hours a day.
I have also noted the differences in sleeping patterns when she uses the phone later in the day. She is more restless during the night.
I love the educational content that technology offers. Netflix has some amazing shows that I even watch with her at times. Chico Bon Bon has become her favourite at the moment.
Moms have had to wear so many hats while at home, and we have stretched ourselves very thin. Being a woman, a wife, a content creator, and a mom under the same roof takes its toll, and technology removes that burden off my shoulders at times.
I still do not like the little zombie she turns into when she is watching some of the content, and I do wonder to what extent is her brain development affected.
I do, however, like those silent showers I take on my own while she sits and entertains herself.
Her consumption of technology was far less when she was in school, but until then, I am sitting wondering if my child’s chances at success are lessened as a result of the iPhone.
Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day.