As screen time continues to be one of the most hot-button issues parents face, one teacher is issuing an impassioned plea and screentime warning that favors putting down the phone or tablet and talking to your kids as much as possible. Cassie Martinez, a mom and kindergarten teacher, recently took to TikTok to explain why technology is “killing our education,” arguing that students don’t know basic manners or conversational skills by the time they make it to her classroom.
“I mean this in the nicest way possible,” she began. “I really truly mean this in the nicest way possible. If you’re a mom or a dad or someone who is responsible for children that you are raising, please put down your cell phone, take away the tablet, and talk to your children.”
“Talk to them. Interact with them. Have conversations with them,” she continued. “There’s a time for the phone, there’s a time for the iPad, I get it. Technology is killing our education.”
“Technology is ruining education for us,” she said of her fellow teachers. “Instead of being able to teach academics, we are having to teach basic things like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Why? Why are we having to teach things like ‘say please when you need something?’ I knew that when I was two.”
“I’m not trying to come at you. I do it too. My kids have iPads,” she said. “Technology is a thing. But it is ruining our society. It is ruining our kids. Our kids don’t know how to have conversations. Our kids don’t know how to talk to each other. They don’t know how to interact with each other.”
In short, she concluded: “Put down the phone, put down the tablet, put down the iPad, turn off the TV. Talk to your families. That’s all.”
Of her “unpopular opinion,” she captioned the clip: “I am begging you!”
Plenty of commenters agreed with Martinez, but pointed out that many schools are using devices as a learning tool early on, making it more challenging to curb usage at home. Others think the lack of basic manners and conversation skills are already lacking in parents, so it makes sense why their kids aren’t learning any at home.
“Everybody wants kids … not too many want to be parents,” wrote one person. “Adults don’t even say please and thank you anymore lol let’s start with that,” wrote another. “I started teaching in 2000 and started noticing a sharp decline around 2006. As soon as I saw toddlers with iPads, I knew being able to keep their attention was over,” shared a fellow teacher.
Others suggest modeling screen-free behavior as much as possible while at home or out in the world. “When you’re at the grocery store and your kid is sitting in the cart, talk about what you’re buying or chat rather than the kid watching the phone,” suggested one commenter. “Family dinner w/ NO screens is sooo beneficial. Not always possible for everyone but seriously helpful,” added another.
Of course, noting the demands on parents these days—paired with an overwhelming lack of resources or support for so many—and it’s not surprising why sometimes parents just want to zone out (or let their kids do so) with their devices. So while there’s no judgment or shame in doing what you need to do to get through those tough moments, kids deserve caregivers who are present and engaged with them. Your devices will still be there after they’ve gone to bed, we promise.