Screen Time

Posted by Gary Court on 10/16/2018 9:00:00 AM

Dear Parents,

Lately, parents and teachers have raised the issue of screen time for elementary-age students.  In particular, several families have shared their struggle with their children’s eagerness, fixation and sometimes addicting-appearing focus on playing video games. 

Fortnite has become the best-selling game ever.  “Players fight each other, making it through a night of zombies, or surviving to the end of a massive battle, and they use the landscape around them to find materials to build shelters.”  What core values are developed and nurtured by playing a game like that?  

The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that games “in which killing others is the central theme (like Fortnite) are not appropriate for children. Incidentally, “children” here means “humans under 18 years of age.” (Dr. Sax)

 One must recognize that most of screen-based activities are to promote consumption, engage us and keep us entertained, and we can learn them far too quickly.  One writer states, “They ask too little of us and make the world too simple.”  Instead of making or creating something, screen time demands little effort and we end up producing very little.  Often, screens command our attention, consume vast amounts of our time and not much more. 

 The Barna Group reports that 60% of all parents set limits (Do you set any limits on the amount of time your children can spend on an electronic device?) and 40% answered no.

 Limits should be established.  The amount of time permitted on screens is a parental decision.  When games or screen are available or accessed is a parent’s prerogative.   Some families are instituting a no device at family meals guideline to inspire conversation, dialogue and discussion. 

 Lastly, please feel absolutely free to use my name with your child(ren) if you need some leverage when establishing boundaries and parameters.  I am always glad to help!


Gary Court


Resources to help with screen time and technology:


Fortnite, Boys and Self-Control by Dr. Sax in Psychology Today, May 12, 2018


Parenting the Fortnite Addict by Lisa Damour, NYT April 30, 2018


The Tech-Wise Family, Everyday Steps to Putting Technology in Its Proper Place

by Andy Crouch. Baker House  2017


Reclaiming Conversations:  The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle.  Penguin  2015