Moms and Dads

Paolo Valenciano Let His Daughter Have More Screen Time And Here’s What Happened

She became a whole other kid…

We all know that screen time isn’t great — heck, for some people, it’s downright evil. Unfortunately, no thanks to the pandemic, it’s been a very, very necessary evil. Without parks and outdoor time, physical classrooms turned Zoom sessions, it’s virtually impossible to have zero screen time. It’s worrying for us all because really, there’s not much we can do about it. Being stuck indoors with the same people, compounded with the stress of working from home and managing online learning at the same time — it’s enough to drive any parent bonkers.

Photography: @paolovalenciano via Instagram

While we should consider ourselves lucky that these should be the least of our worries, dad of one, Paolo Valenciano, recently took to social media to vent out his frustration about the pandemic and excessive screen time. What particularly worried him was seeing his daughter, Leia become a completely different person after getting more screen time. Relate much? Here’s what else we found out…

Busy parents = more screen time

While Paolo and his wife, Sam, considered themselves lucky to have scored extra projects during ECQ, they weren’t prepared for Leia’s 360 change. The increase in projects made the parents busier, leaving them with very little quality time with Leia. So what’s a parent during ECQ left to do? Turn to screen time for help of course. “We decided to let her use her iPad an hour a day. She was the happiest (and cute with the blue light glasses, di ba?)!” Paolo shares, “But less than a week into this, we noticed a huge difference in her behavior. She started demanding for things, she started to snap at us and she didn’t wan’t to play with me anymore.”

Photography: @paolovalenciano via Instagram

Apparently it’s a normal thing. It’s called screen rage, which usually happens when one is forced to stop using an electronic gadget after prolonged usage. Studies show that because screens are sooooo addictive, they literally rage when the rewarding experience is removed — yikes!

Different strokes for different folks

Paolo and Sam did the right thing and cut the screen time immediately. They decided to spend more time with Leia, and after two days, the old Leia was back. “She let me read a book,” Paolo recounts. As tough as this experience was for the Valencianos, Paolo understands that all families have to do what they need to to make it work. “The iPad changed her behavior because she wasn’t used to it,” comments Sam. “We had a crazy week and allowed her to use it at a time and place that wasn’t usual. As soon as we noticed it and stopped, she didn’t ask or demand for the iPad. She’s OK, guys.”

Photography: @paolovalenciano via Instagram

Chito Miranda, who’s also a father to a young son, claims that screen time had no negative effects on his son. “He has an iPad, a phone (my old one), and a Playstation. Our deal is that he needs to finish his homework and school before playing, watches how long he spends on gadgets and continues to exercise outside,” says Chito in the same thread.

Whether we like it or not, screen time has proven to be the best babysitter we never really wanted, especially during this pandemic. We all have had moments where we’ve used YouTube when we needed just a few minutes of peace or popped on a movie because we’ve needed to take a call. Screen time is here to stay, but, as Chito, Paolo and Sam have pointed out, we need balance. We need to set limits and at the same time accept that a little screen time won’t hurt them. Like Paolo, we’re all just waiting to see when our children can play with other kids again, so we don’t give them more screen time than necessary.

Related articles:

I’m Giving My Kids Extra Screen Time Now and I’m OK With It
35 Screen-Free Activities To Keep Kids Busy At Home

Shop for Modern Parenting's print issues through these platforms.
Download this month's Modern Parenting magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]