Empowering Children Through Art: Understanding the Connection Between Autonomy and Screen Time

We all too familiar with the complains of “my child plays too much computer games.” “I can’t get my child off the computer.”

The formal western education system conditions our children to give up their ability to make choices while having the adult takes over that role. Children are conditioned lose control of their attention. The state school system has an abundance of rules and restrictions. When rules are broken, punishments occur, just like in the prison or a military training camp.

With such a restrictive environment in school (where children spend most of their time in), it is no wonder children gravitate towards the online digital gaming world where they get to make choices without adult intervention. Children are seeking out the autonomy that they innately crave and need as a human being.

While the school system may include subjects such as the arts and music, the classes are still run with lots of limitations placed on the children because of the need to educate a huge classroom of children in a short limited time frame.

So instead of blaming technology and banning/ limiting screen time, let us look into giving what our child really desire. Let us start providing the space for our children to practise the autonomy that their psyche needs and crave! Let’s start building that into our days and in our homes!

Making is one of the ways that we can give our children that. Children practice autonomy in art when they are given the opportunity to make their own creative decisions and take ownership of their artwork.

In our Utter Studio Online membership, I have designed autonomy in

  1. Children and families are given autonomy to choose the medium, the subject matter and time that they need to work on their creative practise. Unlike a regular class, or online ZOOM classes where schedule, topic and mediums are always fixed and pre-decided for children.

  2. Children are always given options and choices to veer and experiment on their own. While a technique could be demonstrated in the lesson videos, a child is never expected to follow exactly. In fact, we encourage younger children to attempt of our lessons (facilitated by parents) without watching any demonstrations.

  3. Variety of art projects available for choice. More technique based, craft based, medium based. You take your pick!

  4. Opportunity to reflect. Our membership uniquely offers children the ability to submit their artwork to be reviewed by our teacher. Improvements happens when we slow down and reflect. As a child develops greater self awareness through these reviews, the nuanced understanding of their own creative strength and interest allows them to make more informed choices and decisions.

Art provides a safe environment for children to develop a sense of agency and ownership over their creative process, positively impacting children’s self-esteem and confidence.

If you would like to provide this avenue to practise autonomy for your children through art, consider joining us in our online membership. Our membership is subscription based because we believe that positive change takes time. Nurturing a good habit takes time. Our creativity deserves this time. So instead of forcing creativity in a 3 hour workshop during the holidays, we invite you and your child to immerse yourself daily, monthly and yearly in a gentle creative practise with us.

Come check us out at Utter Studio Online Academy. We currently have two different memberships, Curious Creator Club for age 4-7 and Budding Artist Membership for age 8-12.