Guilty! My kids are allowed to use screens. We have limits and ground rules, yes, but they use tablets, video game consoles, and TV streaming platforms on certain days and at designated times. It works for us, and I have recently discovered something pretty cool about it too!
See, sometime last year, my then 4-year-old daughter learned that her beloved Barbies had a few TV shows and movies. She would ask for them anytime it was her turn to pick what to watch (still does!), and although I assumed my son, who was 7 at the time, would complain, I did not voice that assumption because I try to stay away from teaching them gender-stereotypical expectations.
What’s funny is, I was wrong. Sure, my son loves very “boy-ish” shows and sometimes will say he does not want to watch Barbie or LEGO Friends (another favorite of my daughter’s). But for the most part, he actually does not complain. In fact, more often than not, he is the one to choose to stream a Barbie show, whether or not his sister is in the room.
And you know what? I love it! The Barbie shows are actually so much more positive and socially educational than the majority of the TV shows targeted at boys his age. The storylines include positive messaging, conflict-resolution skill-building, and an emphasis on the importance of friendship and family.
So yes, I actually think my little boy’s love of Barbie and LEGO Friends on Netflix is helping him become a bit more well-rounded, and I love that he doesn’t think he’s “supposed” to hate those shows because “they’re for girls only.” Now if he’d only treat my daughter’s Barbies a little more gently, that would be great too… but for now, I’ll just have to keep hoping and reminding!