Dear Children: No Phone for You. Love, Mom


screen time kids and phones

Dear Sweet Babies,

I know that you think I’m being mean. I know that you are trying to understand how the iPad, iPhone, TV, computer or DS something or other will “rot your brain.” (It won’t.) I know that you feel like you are the only ones without some kind of “screen time” every day. Sometimes I, too, feel like you are the only ones. You might be. But, here’s the deal. For as long as I can hold out, you are not going to get your own device. I’m not going to give in and let you watch as much as you want or even watch a little bit every day. I don’t care that some games are educational and therefore good for your brain. I truly, don’t actually care. It’s not about your brains. I don’t believe screen time will make you dumb.

The real reason I’m depriving you of all the cool stuff that your friends have is that I’m selfish. I want you here with me. I want your eyes looking at me when I talk to you, I want you to come home from school and spend your free moments before you start your homework chatting with me. Or even lying on the couch reading a book because even then, I can still break in. I can still get to you.

This time, the time that I have you under my roof, is so short. And even though sometimes (often) you drive me crazy, and I feel like our house is a total pit because you never pick up your dirty clothes, which you discard at an alarming rate. And you whine about all of the glorious food that I feed you, even still, I want to know you. You change and grow every day and I don’t want to miss a moment of it! I like you, and I want to keep liking you. 

I’ve watched how the stupid game on my phone can suck your attention so completely that when I call your name you don’t even hear me. The fit that you sometimes throw when I tell you that your game time is over is more commensurate to the reaction you should have over, say, your sister stealing all of yHike!our carefully collected and treasured rocks or having three hours of homework a night. 

I’ve seen kids sit at the table in a restaurant across from their siblings and their parents not even looking at them, not hearing them. I never want this to be our family. I want to keep knowing you. I want you to keep knowing your sister and me and your dad. We are your family, but if you check out, you will cease to really know us and we will cease to really know you. I will not be part of your check out. I’ll fight it as long as possible. So, no, you may not have your own phone, a TV in your room, an iPad, or a DS whatever.

Love, Mom


  1. I can assure you and your kids that they are not the only ones. I know two kids, ages about 7 and 9, who get just one hour of media a week. One hour. All media. During a seven-day period. And they have friends who live with similar rules. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

  2. We are planning on moving home to Portland in the next couple of years. It would be great to renew our friendship. We are on the same page for a lot of things it seems.

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