Personally, my primary goal for my son is not to make him the best programmer out there. I want him to be a good, happy person first and foremost. If there are things I can do to make him a better programmer that would hurt the chances of him being happy and good, then I will probably prefer instead to hurt his chances of being a good programmer.
Screen time is one of those things that I'm somewhat concerned about. Some kids get a lot of it these days. I'm not normally one for fearmongering, but the studies I've seen coming out don't necessarily take a very positive view of its effects.
Should my parents have restricted my screen time? Sometimes, yes. But more importantly, they should have tried to make my screen time more meaningful to me instead of leaving me to my own devices.
We know there are some problems with excess screen tine (mostly sleep hygiene, but can combine with speech problems in extreme cases) so it's a good thing that parents ask.
Parents normally know if they have a neuro-atypical child and would tailor the questions appropriately.
"Stop playing video games and go outside."
Toying with Linux?
Playing World of Warcraft?
When I was able to get "screen time" I usually spent more of it playing video games instead of being productive, because that time was so limited.
I would regularly "hang out" on a forum dedicated to amateur story-writers sharing and critiquing each other. I wrote my stories in a notebook, with a few drafts and rewrites, then when I sat down at our computer and the "computer timer" began, I would race to type it up and submit the story, then print out a few other members stories to read during the week, and race to type out reviews for the stories I had printed last time. Then hopefully I had enough time to run a dungeon with friends, or play some Counter Strike.
So I was able to work on my writing offline, but I don't believe that did me any favors. Having access to a spellchecker and Wikipedia while I wrote would have been amazing, instead of a dictionary and no reference materials.
I could be programming, and have to stop and spend a certain amount of time outside. Some days I would spend the time outside just sitting and thinking about my program, working out solutions, I quickly learned that typing is the least essential part of programming. But without Google or documentation, it was hard. I only had one "Teach yourself C++" book, which was not a reference book.
It just wasn't fun, programming at home. Having to stop after two hours, the looks of disapproval as my parents walked by (as if I were doing drugs right in front of them), and being interrupted frequently while working. When I was on the computer, my parents were more likely to assign me pointless chores ("The dog's water bowl is half-empty, fill it up, please") while the "computer timer" was still ticking.
I started a programming club at my high school, and would stay late most days just teaching myself to code, because I didn't want to go home. I remember I would download the source to games I enjoyed, print out about a hundred pages of code and study it. If I was reading code on a screen, I was ruining my life. But if I was reading it on paper, everything was okay.
Of course, I was no saint. I was sucked into World of Warcraft, as were all my friends. I know I have an addictive personality, but it doesn't just apply to negative things. I'm just as "addicted" to programming. I was just as "addicted" to reading and writing science fiction. I don't write anymore, and music took its place. It always finds an outlet anyways, I spent all of my money on comic books and trading card games because those somehow made my parents happier than when I was programming. I wish I had learned better self-control when I was younger instead of learning how to grind through hours of other activities, just to get back to grinding in the game.
The restrictions also made me seem much worse. When a dungeon takes two hours to run, and you only have two hours to use the computer, you get frantic. You call your friends and let them know "I can be on from 3 to 5 Saturday. Be on then, and please don't be late." You're be anxious while the computer starts, while the game loaded. The whole time, this egg-timer above the desk was ticking down. I would be furious when I was kicked off minutes before reaching the final boss. My parents thought video games just made people behave like that. It was even worse when we wiped (when everyone dies), because then I knew it was impossible to complete in time. Thankfully my friends were nice people, and put up with it. Many other people would have just found a new healer.
Sorry, this thread made me want to rant. Please don't restrict mediums. Restrict activities.
OP: I don't quite understand. What your child should be doing? Read paper book, because it's better than reading something on screen?
Please don't restrict mediums. Restrict activities.
That's a great way of putting it.