It happened suddenly from seeing my younger children excited to use their kiddie tablets to swipe their touch screens for learning games to binge watching their now favorite YouTube personalities. I noticed the histrionics when anyone in the home couldn’t find their cellphones, tablets, or the television remote deciding that it was time to admit that we were over using our electronic devices in limiting our screen time as a united front. No, I’m not taking our family to the stone ages before the boom of technological advances in software, the internet, and other computer technology. I’m an 80’s baby who saw the growth in impact of computers, cellphones, and other electronic devices who now has children who know nothing about internet dial up! I’m just a mom who wants to have her children more centered in being in tune with the world around them, engaged fully with their family members and friends, to see the real world outside of the net, and to safely be alert instead of having their faces locked to a screen. I thought we all as a family could benefit from taking a screen break to focus on the reality of having one another.
Leading By Example
The pressures now for anyone in business, growing their platforms, and marketing their brand are to put themselves out there with social media being the guided force. I found myself in the early stages of my budding career as a speaker, writer, and blogger constantly on my cellphone or laptop while trying to engage through social media while juggling my most important roles in my family. It wasn’t in my budget to hire a marketing team as a former stay-at-home mom in taking care of other important responsibilities here at home. I’ve learned that there will always be an overzealous empowerment person to tell you that you need to do this, that, or the other to be great in posting, researching similar brands, editing, producing, and etc , but you have only one family that needs you the most. I’ve been fortunate to have balance in sharing quality time with my children, and I have been afforded many opportunities within my platform that I’m passionate about. I don’t want the image that my children remember me by of their mom sitting on a couch swiping her phone. I don’t want to miss their greatest moments checking a Facebook update. I don’t want them to gain their value of themselves by seeing their mother gain her value by how many social media likes she has.
Here are a few things that I’ve implemented and some I’m now moving forward to do here at home to limit our family’s screen time on digital devices to be more engaged as a family.
- Remove all cellphones and tablets from being close by the bed at night time.
- All electronic devices must be turned in by a designated time before bed. I am more lenient during the summer time a tad bit, but firm in my decision because it helps us all sleep better when our devices are hidden.
- No electronic devices at the dining table for meals.
- Follow the recommended national guidelines for screen time use as a family.
- No devices in entertaining family and friends. Show respect and be present.
- Set a specific time and limit for recreational social media activity. I found myself at one time mindlessly strolling on Facebook & Instagram which can go from fun to transparently bringing out unwanted feelings of unhealthy or unrealistic comparisons.
- Set a specific time to open and respond to emails, texts, and direct messages. Trust me it’s energy saving blocking out spam emails, distractions, and limits unwanted conversations.
- Do more activities that keep you off of your electronic devices that are fun. My girls love visual arts activities, and my son loves playing sports. I like being in nature. Those activities help keeps us off our electronic devices for awhile because we are engaged in doing what we love.
- Everyone in the house pick up a real book! I love the ability to check out informative articles, books, and other forms of literacy online, but it’s also great to pick up something to read that you can physically feel. We have several bookshelves and magazine racks here at our home. It encourages us to read books when we see books.
- Print the pictures of your special moments off of your electronic devices so that as a family you can equally reflect on those moments together. I doubt my twin six year olds will check out my Instagram post!