On Father’s Day last year, my three-year-old son smashed my iPad.
By smash, I mean he had placed it in a box and literally stomped on it while I was in the other room on the phone to my sister, obliviously chatting away about the plans we had later that day.
While I say 'my' iPad, let me clarify: what started off as a business purchase morphed into a digital babysitter that was highly convenient for our family.
Watch: Author Maggie Dent on screen time for preschoolers. Story continues below.
It allowed me to cook dinner uninterrupted, it helped my son 'unwind' after a big day at pre-school, and let me be real, it gave me some much needed respite and brain peace.
Sometimes it was 15 minutes. Other times, it morphed into a prolonged screen indulgence which I am willing to admit was probably unhealthy and would leave most parenting experts crying.
Looking at recently published research on pre-schoolers' growing screen time and its association with poorer sleep and language and cognitive development leaves me with some parental shame regarding the use of digital devices at home.
I should have seen the first red flag. When I would go to charge the iPad, my son would exclaim: 'What are you doing with Michael’s iPad? That’s mine!'