Have you ever noticed you were watching something on TV that you weren’t really interested in … but there wasn’t anything else on? Or you get to bed only to think you’ll just check your Facebook page … one … more … time? Or get sick of the kids fighting over who has had a longer turn on the computer and who is going next?
Yeah we’ve all been there. Haven’t we?
These were all happening at our place which we noticed all the more clearly over the summer holidays – while we were away from home and didn’t have all of our technology with us. There was a lovely calm without the screens and lot more walking, talking, bikeriding and card gaming happening. We as parents loved it, and the kids seemed really happy too.
So we came back from holiday deciding to get out of our screen rut and take control. And it’s been great. The new rules for our kids are that they may only have one hour per day on screens. Any screens – ipod’s, computer games, xbox, tv. I used to be good at monitoring their computer time but they’d just go straight to another screen when that was up! Now the rules cover everything. There are two exclusions – homework doesn’t count, you have to do what you have to do there; and listening to music doesn’t count as screen time (in our family that’s a chill out space that a lot of us actually need).
To be honest, the TV barely goes on any more. When it does, it’s almost annoying. We are all a lot more productive (I know I get a lot more done in the evenings, especially when my husband is working night shift) and the kids are gradually finding ways to entertain themselves that don’t involve screens.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the irony of typing this post as I sit at my laptop … while my ipad is playing music beside me! But the point of our family technology take down has not been to ban technology, it’s to ban the hold technology had over our lives and the amount of time we all spent staring at screens.
I have no doubt we’ll relax the one hour restriction during the winter – the kids all play a lot of sport so are active, and sometimes on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon you just need to sit down and watch a DVD. Fair call 🙂 But so far, I love how this is working for our family. Not saying we’d ever go without technology completely (oh no no no) but getting a little perspective has been super healthy for us all. Well I think so, but I’m confident the teens won’t agree with me there!
How do you manage technology times and turns in your home? We’ve tried white boards, timers, earning time credits and all sorts. Simple black and white time seems to be the easiest way to go. You can click here to see the rules we place around our technology.