Cof­fee time = screen time?

Parenting - - Snippets -

IDiane Levy turns an­thro­pol­o­gist and draws a link be­tween leisure time and screen time.

n the same way the nat­u­ral world adapts and changes, the chal­lenges of par­ent­ing shift with new in­ven­tions and so­cial change. But there are some fun­da­men­tal and time­less skills we need to teach our chil­dren.

If you wanted to learn about the adap­tion of, say, the lit­tle­known leaf frog of Panama, you would of course look no fur­ther than the leg­endary Sir David At­ten­bor­ough. Thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of metic­u­lous re­search and ded­i­cated ob­ser­va­tion, Sir At­ten­bor­ough could talk you through not only the life cy­cle of this crea­ture, but also how it has adapted over the past few decades as its nat­u­ral habi­tat and the so­cial struc­ture of its species have changed.

But this is not a nat­u­ral his­tory mag­a­zine, so it’s likely you are here to find out less about the small crea­tures that in­habit the South Amer­i­can rain forests, and more about the small crea­tures that in­habit your liv­ing room.

Thank­fully, in New Zealand we have some­one whose pas­sion for fam­i­lies, pow­ers of ob­ser­va­tion – and the length of time she has been in prac­tice as a fam­ily ther­a­pist – en­ables her to ob­serve the evo­lu­tion of the way we raise our chil­dren, rather than our flora and fauna.

We’re talk­ing about the changes in café cul­ture to­day, not be­cause it il­lus­trates the changes in chil­dren’s di­ets, but be­cause there’s a par­al­lel be­tween it and changes to the way par­ents and chil­dren now in­ter­act, fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of screens and tech­nol­ogy to fam­ily life.

“There’s no ques­tion that our chil­dren need to know how to use elec­tronic de­vices,” says Diane. “The ques­tion is, are they using

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