Zara and That Bright Screen

We have 2 adults and 2 children living in the house. We have 2 iPad minis, 1 iPad, 4 mobile phones, 1 android tablet, 1 television, 3 macbooks and 1 laptop. The number doesn't match up right?

I am always looking into either one of these bright screen every day, at least 14 hours a day. Looking into the screen for work, for play (Tsum Tsum anyone?), for entertainment (Viu lah what else!) and for communication (even the kids get to FaceTime their gramps few times a week). I find it impossible to live a day without looking into these bright bright screens.

And both my girls are doing the same, especially Zara.

Being home with them these two days (as they are unfit to go to childcare), I observed how much more reliant is Zara to the screen than I thought she is. The moment she wakes up, she looks for the iPad, and without realizing it, it was time for lunch. Soon after she's back watching videos on YouTube and it just went on and on till she eventually fell asleep while the screen was still on. And then there's the before bedtime video time again! On days she goes to school, her screen time will only be limited to that 10-15 minutes before leaving the house and the hour or so before bedtime.

Many times, we did try to distract her and keep her occupy with other activities and toys, but soon after she gets tired of doing whatever the thing is on hand, she will be back to the screen. But she never seems to get tired of watching videos on YouTube!!!

Is it too late for me to put a stop to this?

We tried hiding the iPads for a day and minimise our time on our phones, but whenever she sees the bright light from the screen, she'll squeeze in-between me and the phone and pretend to see what I'm doing. And when there's an opportunity to, she'll take over the phone and slide to the folder where I hid the YouTube app.

It is rare that we get to sit through a meal in peace without the screen appearing. They eat the most when they are distracted by the video on screen. I recall reading somewhere that this is actually bad for digestion! But without the screen, they wouldn't eat! How leh like that?

Both myself and my hub agree that there are advantages to allowing screen time for the girls. But on days when we are stuck at home and nothing planned, we will end up looking down into these screens for a very long period of time. This is one of the reasons why I try my best to keep my girls outdoor or in the shopping malls on weekends, to minimise idling time which will end up becoming screen time again.

As you scroll through this post, you will see the frequency and the any-where-any-time-also-screen-time for the girls. I really want to improve this situation, especially with Zara. If there's any tested and proven tips on getting kids away from screen, please do share with me!

Will Zara grow out of it eventually? Or will it just get worst?

It's very worrying.


  1. Wow you have a lot of tech at home! Even though I only have a smartphone, Mac PC & TV at home, I am also guilty of spending a lot of time playing with my smartphone - internet surfing :(

    Trying to stash my phone away as much as I can to focus more on my kids.

    Also guilty here of letting my boy watch movies on TV when I have a very cranky baby & attention seeking boy to handle at the same time.

    So far we hardly watch TV, try (note TRY lol) to implement a No-tv-friday-night & I allocate a screen-free playroom for the boys.

    I know of mommies who never let their kid watch any screens until they are like 3yo!!!

    I dunno how they do it.

    I feel you.


  2. It's a lot of LED light for your family! Anyway, I got myself some LED shielding spectacles from OWNDAYS, you can try them. It helps shield the light and your eyes won't feel so tired or strained.

  3. This is a very dangerous trend in the next generation. For every medical condition and bad behaviour, there will be a slew of terminologies for it and ultimately a movement to support it. Right now for Zara they will say that it is acceptable for children to stare at screens for long hours because their world will be digital. I say that's BS. It is not acceptable. A few suggestions from me. Take with a pinch of salt that my son isn't nearly old enough but as a techie geekie fella, I've already planned the screen time for him.

    1. Monkey see monkey do - if you're staring it at front of them, they will try to copy you. so don't use devices in front of the kids. When younger they are mostly attracted to the intensity of the color and light and eventually it becomes other interest.

    2. Specific Use - let them use the ipads for a specific activity like smart games. Once it's done, OKAY! TURN IT OFF! TIME TO PLAY SOCIALLY! don't let them think that they can keep browsing to find the next thing. When not in use, lock it, screen off.

    3. Battery management - Once they are older, they will have to learn this. don't let them continuously charge the device. everyday, 10% use MAX. if it reaches zero, no more ipad for this week. It's a really good practical exercise. I will use this for holidays as well. you are entitled to 2 full charges per week on holiday. this will prevent them from seclusion and not participating in family discussion and activities.

    Let me know how this goes!
    michael @

  4. I feel you Claudia, hugs... Prob you can try to engage your girls more in art & craft or playing toys. My 7&10 years old girls have no gadgets, tablets, screen time unless for school related work or out on play date with friends(No choice, all their friends playing games????). Other than that, they requested but I don't give it, they are used to it now. They played toys together, chit chat, doodle, outdoor activities.

  5. If I may be blunt, the parents must lead by example :p
    Everytime I ask them to stop, they will retort why "Daddy/Mummy" can still use! (ooops).

    cheers, Andy

  6. We've been using no-screen-during-dinner-time method and it kind of motivates the kids when they see that the adults' phones are put away and we focus on chatting and eating. That being said, it is still challenging... for me to put away my phone and for jaden to stop asking for YouTube. Way to go!

  7. Oh! Kids now-a-days are born tech-savvy...very difficult to keep them away from iPads and all...I too have so many gadgets and all of them are occupied many times! I hide them away sometimes and encourage them to go outdoors, set time limit of 45 mins-1 hour and it works when the school is on but in holidays, I just give up. :(

  8. That is a lot of gadgets in your house. But that is the nature of your job. As for the kids, here are 2 sense worth:

    1) they are still too young (preschoolers) - I think while some time with the iPad, TV, phone is ok (there are lots of articles on the appropriate amount of time for kids), they are many considerations to think of. One is that they need to develop their motor skills - writing, physical activities etc.. Another consideration is the effect of too much screen time on their eyes.

    2) Worry about addiction. When my son was much younger ( 6 or 7 years old), he exhibited addiction symptoms especially when we took the ipad from him. He will also demonstrate withdrawal symptoms like throwing tantrums, and be listless (don't know what to do without the ipad). It took concerted effort on my part (coaching, persuasion, discipline

    3) Our kids are native in the technology-age. So, they will become better, faster and more savvy than us. I have to ask my son for a lot of technology help like downloading music, finding apps or figuring how the remote control works between apple TV and the regular TV... One thing I always prime my kids though is that when mom and dad are on their gadgets, we are working. So there is an understanding why "we are also looking down on our screens."

    4) Have some house rules - my kids are allowed on their gadgets when HW is done, evening time when outdoor activities are out of the question. Also, we limit their time to 1 hour so they have to choose between Tv and iPad. During school holidays and /or PH, we are more flex depending on whether we are on holiday or not..

    Hope this looong comment helps. :-)

  9. I am on your shoes, everyday. But as much as possible, I am limiting their screen times. I tell them to stop, when to stop. Before I thought it's because they grew up on a very techie generation. But as time progresses, I realized I'm the only one they are copying because I work home-based. So I talked to them and explained that too much screen times are bad for them. I look forward that you will find style that will work for them.


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