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Polly And the Screen Time Overload

Written by Betsy Childs Howard and Illustrated by Samara Hardy

As summer gets underway, the following children’s book designed for children ages 3-7 seems just what many parents need to navigate the next couple of months of school break. 

Betsy Howard Child, an editor for The Gospel Coalition, broaches a topic every Christian parent needs to discuss with their children. In the first scene of this story, we learn that every year Polly spends the last week of July at her grandparents’ farm. She especially looks forward to moments with Grandma and Grandpa, her cousins Tom and Zoe, and the farm animals. And the opening event is a birthday celebration in her honour.

With a slice of chocolate cake in hand, Polly opens the gift her Aunt Patty has sent: A tablet! She can hardly believe her eyes! Unable to contain her excitement over having access to her own device, Polly amuses herself on her screen all day and late into the night. She ignores her cousins and forgets all about her promise to help feed the animals. Polly finally comes to her senses when her screen goes black because the battery is dead. She realizes how much she cherishes playing in the barn with Tom and Zoe and enjoying her grandparents’ company over meals or while helping with chores around the farm. In the process, she learns that investing in relationships with loved ones brings far more joy than isolating herself indoors on a screen.

The book concludes with a note from the author containing advice for parents to help kids develop wise use of screens. These two pages alone are worth the price of the book! They provide moms, dads, and caregivers with practical suggestions on how to model and discuss screen use in a way that equips our little ones to make good choices. The goal is to teach them how to exercise control over their devices rather than to be controlled by them. You’ll find it here


This article was first published in French at TPSG

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