Imagine for a moment 20 people of various ages who have been asked to sit still for 10 minutes with their empty hands on their knees. They are not allowed to speak or interact with anyone. The participants can’t leave their seat or get anything out of their pockets. They just need to sit.… Can they hold still?
Would it be hard for you to be a part of that group?
We live in a time of constant sensory input. Screens play a large role in our lives.
It was time to talk about “screen time” at our house again. I created this survey for each member of my family to complete. We used it as a springboard for a family discussion on the topic:
There are no exact right and wrong answers to the correct amount of screen time. Proper usage depends on age and on the intent. Our 11 year old and our 17 year old see “Screen Time” differently.
My two main thoughts from our family discussion are:
1) Our kids need to be involved in setting limits and boundaries.
It is a very short time they are in our home. What then? Do they know when to say when? We told our kids think about it and come and talk to us about what boundaries they think they should have…each individually.
Possible Limits and Boundaries to Choose From…
- only use Wi-Fi in family areas, no tablets or iPods in bedrooms
- no screens on Thursdays
- social media can only be viewed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- check social media only once a day
- set timer during video game play
- no texting after 10:30pm
- only text family members after 10pm
- only get on the internet after you have told someone your “purpose” for getting on
- phones, iPods, tablets, etc…”sleep” in the parents’ room
- In the summer—no screen time until after lunch
- No screen time until after your instrument is practiced
- From 5:00 to 7:00 is screen down time –no screens are allowed during that time
- No Smart phones for children under 18 years old or no use of data
- Set your phone in a certain place at home and don’t carry it around
- During dinner phones are turned off
- Look at the person speaking to you and not at the screen
- Etc, etc, etc.
There are as many choices as there are families! And limits need to change as situations change. The important thing is that your rules for yourself and for your family meet the current needs.
Setting limits for myself helps me feel in control of the screen. I like it. I personally have set the goal to only get on social media on MWF and only then, if I have spent time in the scriptures first. It helps keep me grounded on what is important to me.
2) We need to be intentional about setting time to use “Screens” for good.
Screens are not going away…so use them to your advantage! Maybe a family activity could be to find something positive to post and then post it! Or maybe a family activity could be to search out incredible places like the Wonders of the World or fascinating landscapes. Our family has loved pretending to travel to different countries. The internet is a huge resource in this endeavor. (See our posts Travel the World, Let’s Take a Pretend Trip to Italy, Dinner in Ireland, Family Dinner Trip to Washington State, Imaginary Trip to the Holy Land, and Evening in England).
The fast onslaught of technology has not given us enough time to properly study of the effects of too much screen time. I feel like we need to take a step back and evaluate. My plea to parents everywhere is to ponder how your family’s use of screen time influences each person. Are each of us better because of screens or do we need to rethink how we use our screen time?
Best of luck figuring out what is right for you.
Note: Background of featured image is by TT on Pixabay