Screen Time and Independent Thinking

I’ve been reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, in which he praises the idea of “less but better” in how we spend our time and what we focus on. Discern the essential in any situation, he says, and let the rest go.

It strikes me that my goal in homeschooling is to teach my kids to be independent thinkers. Therefore, one of the reasons I feel uncomfortable with the kids spending a lot of their time on screens is that so much of what is available nutures the instinct to follow the herd. It’s an environment that is unhelpful for the essential task of independent thinking.

But I can see that “limiting” screen time, making it a scarce resource, creates a more obsessive mindset towards it. Lori Pickert has a very well thought out exploration of screen time, which is worth reading. My reaction towards my own discomfort with screens needs to be, fundamentally, to make sure that the rest of their lives are filled with opportunities to strengthen their skills in independent thinking. Not just the easy way out of setting limits. I must also participate in their screen time through discussing what they’ve seen and done, as well as sometimes watching or playing with them. Show how independent thinking can be focused on anything, not just a school text book. They will come to see the shortcomings of some of the shows all by themselves, in time.

More difficult. More essential.