An Aussie mummy blogger has gone on a furious rant after she was called “lazy” for allowing her kids to play with an iPad while the family were at a party.
Laura Mazza, who blogs under Mum On The Run, recently shared a post with her 245,000 fans telling them she was horrified after being told off by another mum.
The mum-of-three said she had given her son an iPad to settle him after he became “whiny” while out with the family and she was trying to look after her other kids.
“Out comes Cathy (not her real name),” the Melbourne-based blogger wrote.
“‘I would never give a child an iPad, that’s just lazy parenting in my opinion,’ (she said) quietly, albeit loud enough so I could hear.”
“I went to open my mouth to tell her exactly how I am not a lazy parent and she can piss off, but instead I smiled and asked, ‘why do you think it’s lazy?’
The 33-year-old said she was told by the mum that instead of taking time to communicate properly with kids, it seemed parents now turned to tech.
“‘They just give them mind-numbing devices where they don’t learn anything. Children grow up not normal,’ she said, ever so smugly.”
Rather than take offence, Ms Mazza said she then asked the mother if she had used tech with her kids when they were growing up:
“(She replied:) ‘No, they didn’t exist. They played outside with their cousins, or their aunties read to them while I was busy with my other two children,’” she wrote.
Rather than brush aside the mother’s comments, Ms Mazza said she attempted to explain to her that she, too, was doing her best to “navigate this new world”.
“As a parent navigating this new world and a world of technology, it’s a very scary time,” she said.
“We are having to navigate this world without the support system that once existed. I’ve had no support, no aunties and uncles sitting inside my house. No big village.
“The internet has become my village. And sometimes it’s a cruel one. I can spend time online and I’m already told all the ways I am doing it wrong.”
She continued saying while there may have been a time when kids could roam free without repercussion, this was no longer the case and was often unfairly deemed the biggest crime of them all.
“I could let my children roam free, like yours once did, but no sooner than later would someone record it on their phone, post it in a parenting group and I’d having threats to child protection because I let my child roam free,” she wrote.
“The world is very different now. As is the technology provided to us. As is the rules, the laws, the village provided to us.”
‘AS A PARENT, PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE’
“Every generation has had its struggle, and this is mine. Were you perfect at navigating them? Because I know I’m still learning … and perfection as a parent is somewhat unattainable,” Ms Mazza wrote.
She said regardless of the mother’s opinion, technology in all its forms “isn’t going anywhere” and that attacking others served no purpose.
“So as a parent yourself, of once younger children, rather than judging my parenting from a time that is different from yours, perhaps you could find ways to encourage me or help me.”
The blogger’s strident message struck a chord with her followers and her post has since garnered more than 2700 reactions and close to 400 comments.
Many agreed with Ms Mazza saying they were also doing their best to balance their child’s screen-time with other commitments.
“There’s definitely a time and place to use technology to entertain/teach children,” said one.
“Granted it’s probably being used far too much by a handful of parents, however as a parent we also need to teach our children the skill of being bored.”
Another agreed: “I think like everything … in moderation. My boys love tablet time but I’ve tried to make it that it’s not everything.”
A third said using tech made parenting a far easier task as it helped give them some much-needed space to attend to household duties.
“Couldn’t live without it. It occupies my little boy when I need to get things done (cooking, cleaning) he doesn’t have it all of the time but when he does he actually learns quite a lot from what he watches.”
SCREEN TIME AND CHILDREN
According to Australian parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson parents need to tread a careful line when it comes to kids and screen time.
He said a study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies revealed by the age of 12-13 years old, Australian children spent an average of three hours per day and almost four hours on weekend using screens.
This figure averaged out to 20 per cent of their waking time on weekdays and 30 per cent on weekends.
“Parents need to be aware of how their children are spending their limited waking hours,” the author of 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know wrote on his blog.
“What they are doing now affects the rest of their lives. The ACMA study showed that too many parents don’t monitor anything that their kids do on screens.”
What are the recommendations for screen time?
The evidence around screen time for young children is sufficient to argue that we should discourage toddlers (under about two years of age) from using screens.
Children under five:
Children under five seem to be less negatively affected, but screens are still likely to have a detrimental, rather than positive impact on their development. The old guidelines suggested a maximum of half an hour per day. This is unlikely to be realistic. Instead, encourage other activities, discourage screen time, and keep it to a minimum.
While it may be unrealistic for a teen to only spend two hours per day in front of screens, there still needs to be limits. Work out what sort of balance will suit your family.