Steve Almond "riffs" in the New York Times Magazine about how screens are warping his kid's fragile, little mind--just like television was the touchstone of his own latchkey kid youth:
This is the moment we live in, the one our childhoods foretold. When I see Josie clutching her grandmother's Kindle to play Angry Birds for the 10th straight time, or I watch my son stuporously soaking up a cartoon, I'm really seeing myself as a kid -- anxious, needy for love but willing to settle for electronic distraction to soothe my nerves or hold tedium at bay.Which, yes, yes, yes, but.
And if experiencing this blast from the past weren't troubling enough, I also get to confront my current failings as a parent. After all, we park the kiddos in front of SpongeBob because it's convenient for us, not good for them. ("Quiet time," we call it. Let's please not dwell on how sad and perverse this phrase is.) We make this bargain every day, even though our kids are often restless and irritable afterward.
Let's face facts about our hopes and expectations for our kids, and for ourselves as parents: because the default setting is that we become our parents, and our kids become us.
If that doesn't sit well with you, whether because of your desperately lousy childhood; your deeply ingrained, self-hating awareness of the injustice of your failures; your new parenting technique which is unstoppable; or your genius world-saving Golden Child who surpasses you in every way; you have your work cut out for you.
Now you know, and can plan accordingly.