My Love Hate Relationship with Screen Time

  • 13 June 2017
  • Kristi
Real Struggle on How Screen Time Effect our Family

The other day I posted the article, “Remember to Just Breathe Mommas.” (You can read it by clinking on the link) In that post, I described how miserable I was feeling as I watched my family continuously zone out into our screens. There we were, sitting, scrolling, staring, (in some case all three), like mindless zombies addicted to the shiny bright blue light. It sickened me.

Over the years, our screen time behaviors have swung back and forth from reasonable to unreasonable like a pendulum on an old grandfather clock. We get too far to one side or the other we make an adjustment and head back towards the center.

Screens are addictive. Social media is addictive. Being constantly entertained is addictive. We’re just addicts. Admit it. We all have a problem. There is tons of scientific research to confirm the addictive effects that screen time has on our brains. There is also new evidence showing the negative effects screen time, social media, and the 24 hours news cycle, has on our emotional and mental health.

{"People; It has to stop."}

To compound the problem, our child has obsessive tendencies that causes our family a great deal of struggles with these devices. It pretty much boils down to all or nothing with no wiggle room to slack. Otherwise, we are constantly fighting over how much more she can watch. Just a few more minutes, and then a few more after that. The begging and the pleading never ends. This addiction will cause her to lose her desire to go outside and play with friends. It paralyzes her own creative abilities to entertain herself or come up with new ideas. She looks at the time waiting for the clock to allow another round. It’s awful.

I know that many in the Unschooling world do not limit screen time and if that works for them, great. Unfortunately, that philosophy doesn't’t work for us.

Here in lies the rub. I understand that computers, phones, and tablets can be powerful tools to accomplish many things. I am not naive to the fact that our children will most likely have to work with machines in order to pursue their career choice. EVERYTHING seems to be connected to some piece of technology. Even our appliances...and frankly, I don't need my fridge giving me commands too. My 8 year old does that enough. Lol!

I use my computer more as a tool than a mindless video or social media scrolling device. By doing so, it really helps me keep my family organized. It helps me create new content (like this piece) to share with you. It helps me find local events to enrich my families lives and helps me stay connected to friends/family all over the country. For all of that, I LOVE it!

All these screens have left me longing for more real quality time with my family. It’s left me reminiscing about the days of my childhood where TV and video games were minimal, while spending all day outside was the norm.

What’s a family to do?

We have taken a new oath to cut our screen time dramatically. All of us. As I don’t believe in the word balance, as it implies all things being equal, I prefer the word harmony. Harmony is the ratio of use of time that works for you and your family. In our case, I am striving for less than 10% of our waking hours to be in front of a screen. (My husband working not included). That's enough. More than enough. Don't think there aren't days I want to simply go and pull the plug on all of it. Life is so precious that I don't want to spend it glued to a screen. I want to enjoy my family and be present as much as possible. It means less time writing, blogging, and posting. It means less time creating graphics and finding articles to post every single day. It means less overriding sensationalized news weighing heavy on our psyche. It means less world drama and filling our mind with ridiculous crap. It means less sitting and vegging out. 

But...

It also means so much more. It means more engagement with the world we live in. It means more exploration, more discovery, more learning. It means more quality time with friends and family. It means more personalized stories and only posts that really have had an impact on my life, which in turn, hopefully means it will be more impactful for you too.  It means more simplicity and more happiness.

It may seem like less, but I think it’s more.

{"Less screen time = more happiness in life.'}

How do you feel about screen time for your family? Tell me in the comments below. 

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