Did you know that this week is Screen Free Week? (It was formerly known as “TV Turn Off Week” during simpler times.) If the articles being shared on my Facebook feed are any indication, parents today have a complex and confusing relationship with the technology in our life. But regardless of how much, what kind, or why media is used in your house it’s something that we should control, rather than letting it control us.
I heard about this challenge a little late, but I wanted to use it to first take inventory of how much screen time the kids are really getting. I used to be much more strict, however a rough pregnancy and the early months of a newborn changed my opinion. But I had the nagging suspicion that TV, iPhones, and iPads were occupying a little more of our day than I’d like. So, I started by tracking all screen time for a few days.
There was the good: TV time actually isn’t as much as I feared, and my daughter spends half the time doing death defying stunts around the house anyway.
The bad: As I feared, the quick little sessions on the phone added up. The “Here, play with this!” moments as I shove the iPhone at her to get us through the Post Office line turned out to be a good bit more than I thought.
And the ugly: I realized I’m not sure what else to do with my 3 year old as I bring her baby sister upstairs to nurse and rock to sleep for her morning nap. Surely I can come up with something else to keep her (and the house and animals) safe. But would it be as surefire and easy as iPad games or Frozen?
From this baseline, I feel like I have a clear plan for where and how we can cut back.
If you feel like there’s room for improvement in your household, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has some great facts and tools to help you out on their Strong4Life site. Check out their 5 Tips for a Family Digital Detox and this article on why you may want to Dial Down Screen Time (hint: the average kid spends 4.5 hours in front of a screen – that’s 68 days a year!) With our current weather, it’s the perfect time of year to shut down for a bit and get everyone outside!
What are your screen time limits? Could you do a total digital detox for 1 week?