Letter: Parents should be wary of screen time, trash

Dear Editor,

Re: “$8 Tablet strollers replace free ones at Richmond Centre,” News, April 18; “Family fights for foam ban,” News, March 28; Your Voice, April 18, 2019

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It came as no surprise that Richmond Centre Mall is now charging $8 to rent strollers — asking customers to pay for something we do not actually need is the mantra of malls everywhere.

But that is not really the most concerning detail.

The fact that parents (as revealed by the “Your Voice” response to this issue) are still unaware of the significant dangers posed by screen time to infant and toddler aged children is frustrating.

Yes, as one parent noted, shopping will be “a breeze,” but is she aware of the most recent study from the University of Alberta that has found preschoolers exposed to two or more hours of screen time per day — including TV and mobile devices — struggle with clinically significant behavioural problems?

Like climate change, it is an issue that will not be rectified unless people change their habits.

To the family that was tired of seeing piles of trash all over our fair city’s sidewalks and parks, and decided to take a bag out with them and just pick up what they saw, bravo!

At the school where I work, we have a plastics recycling program in which all snack plastics, soft plastics and hard plastics are collected each day and taken to the Richmond Recycling Depot (5555 Lynas Ln.).

Literally thousands of plastics that would have ended up in landfills, the bellies of animals or the ocean have been diverted. The next step is eliminating our single plastic use entirely.

A challenge? Yes. But, like resisting the urge to hand over an electronic device to a toddler, even though it might make your shop easier, we must make challenging changes to our lifestyle if our children’s future is going to be a healthy one.

Parents, teachers, children, all citizens: Are you willing to step up?

If not you, then who?

Robert Kirkham


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