Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The talk about screen time continues...




There is a battle between generations... There is this ongoing fight between us that makes me exhausted and I'm not sure this fight is never to be won. By either one of us... It is the battle about screen time...

We had a family meeting about screen time and made some drastic changes. It was not a pleasant meeting. There were some raised voices, almost tears, but overall I think we handled it very well. We don't often have family meetings like this, but this felt like an urgent topic to deal with and before going down the road of TAKING IT ALL AWAY in pure frustration, we made the decision to discuss it as a family. The goal was to not put shame, anger or bad feelings into this subject and instead we discussed how we use screens, what we surf for, why we want it and how we feel about it. I know! It sounds so... I can't really find the word... noble??? Correct? Perfect? Well, let me tell you this, I'm far from perfect but I'm proud of the conversation we had and I think we managed it all very well. Everyone got involved. Everyone had their voice heard.

It was painful to face the evil in our small and big devices, and to face the pain of having to put them aside, obeying to a new schedule we all agreed upon. After a couple of weeks of limited use I can already see the tremendous benefits of taking new action. It warms my heart. Luca Bo practices flips and tricks on the trampoline and spends hours on his skateboard, Emmy Bo makes street art, Fimo clay figures and explores new skipping rope and mono cycle techniques. Nelly Bo is being a little bit more present in family life (although her room and her friends are on top of her list above EVERYTHING else of where she prefers to be at age 15. And hanging out with us parents and siblings are probably at the very far bottom or even underground... twink...). So what does our new screen time schedule look like? Well, it isn't set in stone. But it is a guide line.  

Week days: 1 hour, no screens after dinner.
Weekends: 1-3 hours, no screens in afternoons.
Devices (Luca Bo's and Emmy Bo's) are turned into charging station after dinner time to eliminate the temptation of use...

Our framework looks different for each individual in the family as we all are in different ages. Nelly Bo, who is 15, socialize a lot on her phone and for as long as she has a balance of being active, socializing in real life and staying on top of house chores and school work, she is controlling her use herself. And if not, we step in and take it away for a while to "reset" the mindset. Because that is the goal, right? It is our new generation, brought up with screens, living "in" screens and communicating with screens. We all just need to learn how to use them in a balanced way so we don't loose out on real life and turn into isolated couch potatoes. And you know what, it actually really works.

There are more humming and singing and just general happy noise around the house nowadays and we sleep deeper and better. There are less arguments about screen time and more time of playing outside, in our rooms and being together. Overall I feel we have found a good balance now. I just hope we can stick to it. That real life will continue to be the first choice instead of the computers.

I have, personally, taken a big step back spending time online (which you might have noticed over here and in my IG feed...) for different reasons, and it feels really good to be more present in life and get real things done instead of falling deep into the rabbit hole of social media apps... You know what I'm saying, right? It is not just our kids that has a hard time to control their screen time use...

Let me just round up with a little story from my past. A few years ago, before I owned a smart phone, I asked my younger brother who had an iPhone4 at the time if he thought I should get one, for my blogging and so... I had heard about Instagram and wanted to join the community so bad... He just looked at me and said: "If you don't need one, I wouldn't get one. It will BURN in your pocket and create needs you never had before." And it certainly did... But I have also had lots of fun. Life online is not only evil, we just have to find the balance of how we use it. I want to be in charge of my online life, I want my children to be in charge of their online life. I don't want the gadgets and devices to control us... that is my point. And with that I sign off today. Time for some crochet in the garden. Without my phone. 


Note: More discussion on this subject can be read in my old blog post "Time online... All the time?"



Kärlek
Annette


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15 comments :

  1. Our house rule for our 14 year old daughter is no devices after 8pm, they stay downstairs (so no temptations after lights out), and one hours playing games a day. That hour worked fine when she was younger, but is a bit harder to enforce now she is messaging friends etc - 'I'm not playing I'm talking to my friend'! Xx

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    1. Hi
      I know... The older they get, the harder it is to make rules. The phones have replaced the 3 hour phone calls that we used to have as kids, with our Mums shouting for us to hang up because it is costing a fortune!!! Good luck and keep the frame work... Thanks for popping in today.
      Xx

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  2. well done - I wish someone would come and have a screen time talk with me! - It can be a challenge to find a healthy balance nowadays especially for parents.
    By the way: so happy to see Charley again - we have not seen him in ages :-)

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    1. Hi
      It is hard, but I think if we just try to understand and find a balance it is okay... If we can only get rid of the conflicts about it... Easier said than done.

      And yes, Charlie is our old chap... He is always around... Our comfort blanket he is. :)Thanks for visiting!
      Xx

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  3. If I could start all over with phones and kids, I wouldn't have let them have them so early. And when they did have them, way more limitations. Smart phones definitely take over. The best summer ever was our first year in our home. It was before phones and we decided to not unpack the tv. We spent the whole summer playing outside, gardenening, hiking and at the beach. Rainy days we crafted. Painted rocks, made paper flowers, lavender sachets and all sorts of things. As much as I love my smart phone, I miss my simple little "dumb" phone.

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    1. Hi Tammie
      Good thought... I think of parents today where the phones are introduced even before the first year is reached... Emmy Bo who is 10 now is a real iPhone generation and she is also the one who is most addicted to the games and YouTube watching... And she is the one who doesn't have the ability to control herself so when it comes to her I'm very attentive about her time use.

      Your story about the vacation without electronics sounds wonderful. If I could turn back time... to the good old days... Such a sentimental thought. However, at summer when we go to our summer house we have no WiFi. And only 3 local Swedish channels on the TV. That month is our electronic break of teh year. And my kids embrace it fully and actually long for the fact of being WITHOUT cyber connection. Me too, misses the old "dumb" phone at times...

      Thank you for engaging here today. It was a pleasure to read.
      Xx

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  4. It's very tricky. My 2 boys pay for their own phone contracts with their pocket money. They don't have TV in their rooms and the x-box is in the guest room (now teenage lounge).
    The 14 yr old (15 September) hands in his electrics (phone and tablet) at 8:30 pm bed at 9:00 pm lights out at 9:30 pm. 17 yr old similar - he hands his in at 9:00 pm - lights out 9:30-10:00 sometime. He's at college & having driving lessons, so have to be more fluid.
    They both have laptops in their rooms but don't use them after bedtime. They absolutely 'have' to keep the laptop on the desk as I think laptops on beds, chairs etc are a fire hazard waiting to happen with the vents underneath blocked. They stick to that - or I take them away.
    I wouldn't say they ever play outside anymore but they do join in with some family life and will always help with their share of jobs. They'll also come out for family walks with us and go to church willingly. All the best, Cx

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    1. Hi
      Wow... You are in control I can hear. Paying for their own contracts. That is very good. teaches them that things actually cost money.
      We don't have TVs in our bedrooms either and only one big one in the living room and a small one in the office where the kids can watch videos if they want on a Saturday night. I guess the key is to be strict about the rules set. No wishy-washy"Ok, but next time I'll take it away." I need to be toughen up on that. And what a blessing to have the children with you on walks willingly... I always have to bribe my kids to come along, offer an ice cream after or things like that... Sad... But only my own fault. No one is perfect, right?
      Thanks for sharing.
      Xx

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  5. What a wonderful article......Mom making a stand for the Family!
    When all is said and done, the things that are cherish and remembered are the times and precious moments spent together.

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  6. Hi Annette, wonderful that you all came to some sort of agreement on the screen time. It certainly is time consuming and although the internet is a great thing it is killing social interaction, we are all guilty of it. A recent two week holiday on the canals without internet or television was so relaxing. Taking in the sunsets and the lambs in the fields, wild flowers and fresh air was much better than no communicating and we managed not to fall asleep in front of the TV!
    Hugs Julie xx

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    1. Oh how nice your holiday sound. Recharging without technology is the best. Thanks for sharing.
      Xx

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  7. Wonderful post as always Annette and as per usual you tap right into what's going on in my head now too. We don't really have limits in this family, but not self imposed and to a certain extent that's been fine but not always and of course as my DD is getting older the screen is starting to assert its dominance. I know that I have a lot of 'screen fatigue ' at the moment for sure. Time for some talking here to maybe....

    S x

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  8. Yes, the struggle is real and hard for all of us, for the adults and with the children. Mine are older than yours (everyone didn't have cell phones then). We didn't let ours have them till they were mobile (driving). Some of their friends had them in kindergarten, which that made the battle long and hard. They had limits for the TV and computer everyday, an hour for each and a bit more on the weekend. They could have one before chores and homework and the other after. Our girls made top grades all through school (even in college so far). We are glad we did it, even though it was hard for now they are older and one has moved out and the other away at Uni. Our time is too short with them as it is without the screens taking even more time from us. Good luck with your battle!

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  9. Hello,
    I take my hat off to you, what you have done couldn't have been easy. I am a mum to two 31 year old boys?men?! and when they were young this wasn't an issue, social media not being as it is now. however now they use their gadgets so much more than is healthy. Despite their age, when they visit, which most thankfully, they do often, if their gadgets come out I have now taken to asking if I am really that boring?!
    They get the message and they were polite enough not to give a smart answer!
    My husband and I desist from using social media in the evenings, life is too short, and we enjoy each others company.
    I think we all have to be aware of being sucked into the black hole.
    Well done you!

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Thank you so much for visiting my world. I love reading your comments and I do my utterly best to respond to questions and sweet messages. Thank you again for popping by.

Kärlek
Annette

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