The more I have thought about it though, the more I have come to realize that beyond the idea that our daughter does not need screen time, is the idea that our daughter’s fascination with the iPad and the cell phone points to deeper habits that we are teaching her. Yes, technology is colourful, shiny and lights up, but more importantly, I think in our daughter's development, she sees everyone use it all the time.
At one and a half our little one puts things in a pot and stirs it with a spoon when daddy is cooking, needs to eat everything (even finger food) with utensils, brushes her teeth only if we do it too! She is in a stage of mimicking everything we do, and all of us are on our phones all the time. So, rather than being super controlling as to whether our daughter watches cartoons when she is visiting her cousins, I am beginning to wonder if the more important question is: how do I model responsible use of technology? When do I check my phone? Is what I am doing at the moment actually less important than the notification on my phone? Why do I feel a need to check my email right now, am I actually present here and now?
I don't want my daughter to feel second to technology in my eyes, I also want her to grow up to be able to be present with those around her. And, I want her to know that while technology is a useful tool (it is how we Skype with far away grandma and grandpa), it is also part of problematic system. Colton in our technology fuels resourse wars in the Congo (cite), computers are often made in sweatshops -- Technology is a luxury that comes at the expense of others, and it is not the be all and end all. I hope trying to model more intentional use of technology for our daughter, will help my partner and I be more accountable to ourselves when we buy and use our phone and computers.