What can I say to family and friends with more lenient screen-time rules?

Everyone has different screen-time rules. It can be tough to talk about because you don't want to come off as judgmental -- or maybe you just don't want to start a conflict. But if your kid is going to be spending a significant amount of time with kids whose parents have different rules, it is absolutely within your right -- and in your kid's best interest -- to explain what you're comfortable with. Soften the blow by saying, for example, "I know I turn into a control freak when it comes to media, but it's really important to me, and since I know our kids will be friends for a long time, I want you to know where I'm coming from." 

Sometimes bending your own rules for the benefit of social harmony is the way to go, but only you can make that call. Get more ideas for telling others your screen-time rules.

Here are some of the key issues to discuss, especially as your kid gets older:

  • Time limits. State your preference. Say, "I'm OK with the kids watching a movie, but I'd like them to play on their playdate too."
  • Content. Tell the parents if your kid is frightened by scary stuff; say you have a particular "thing" about him watching shows or playing games with potentially frightening images.
  • Supervision. How close of an eye do the other parents keep on the kids, especially when they're on the Internet? Ask parents if they have content filters installed on their search engines.
  • Multiplayer games. Find out if the other kids in the house play multiplayer games. If your kid isn't familiar with them, ask if multiplayer can be turned off until he gets the hang of the game. Make sure to talk to your kid about playing online games responsibly and respectfully
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Comments

Adult written by mswise

This is a challenging one, too. But you're the parent and you set the rules for your child. It may take some time for others to get used to your preferences but if you're clear on your choices and communicate them consistently, then others will know you are serious. You also have to be able to "bare" their judgments of you. The ideal is when you are immersed in a community of other like-minded parents; that makes a huge difference when your share the same values as the parents of your childrens' friends. Maybe it would be of interest to explore whether there is a Waldorf or waldorf-inspired school or child-care in your area. But as far as letting friends and family know that you don't want your child to be exposed to media when you are not there, be bold and say so. The as-of-yet-unseen-gift this is to your child is priceless. You, the parent know what's best for your child. You, the adult parent advocate (strongly request or politely insist) for that which is in the best interest of your child. Period.