November 2020


Pre-corona, screen time wasn’t even an issue for us Weisbergs. My kids left for school in the early morning and came home mid-afternoon/evening, leaving precious few hours to play, eat, and fight until their pre-bedtime video time followed by (yahoo!) bedtime.

But now, under lockdown, screen time is THE issue for us Weisbergs.

From the moment I wake up until I go to sleep at night, I’m in a constant battle against screen time. And the screens are winning, hands down!

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from my son’s school that Rabbi Yoni Lavi would be leading a zoom conference with us parents about “The Parenting Challenge of the Corona Era.” I understood from the e-mail that Rabbi Yoni would be talking about the evils of screen time. So instead of marking it down in my calendar like a good Eema, I davka scheduled something else at the time of the conference.

There’s no need for even MORE negativity these days, right?

It’s bad enough, I thought, that I’m drowning in kids and homework and zooms. Why add disempowering guilt over my kids’ out-of-control screen time into the mix?

But when I vented to one of my grown-up daughters, she suggested that maybe the conference wouldn’t be disempowering at all. In fact, maybe it would be extremely empowering!

So, I cancelled what I’d scheduled. And I listened to the zoom conference while I sorted a mountain of laundry.

And Rabbi Yoni reminded me why too much screen time isn’t good for kids. And why this is definitely a battle worth fighting. And I decided as a first step I’m going to set up, as Rabbi Yoni suggested, “Screen-Free Time.”

When I announced this new initiative, no screens between (I decided) 3-6 p.m., one child turned pink-faced indignant and shouted, ”But then WHAT WILL I DO??!”

One child cried when I tore the computer from her clutches at 3 p.m., whining, “But the movie ends in only 12 minutes!!”). She’s been sulking ever since.

It is now 4:17, which means we are a full hour and 17minutes into the Weisberg screen-freeze. I pray I (and my kids) are going to win this round, not the screens! Wish me luck!


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