Screen-free time? What is that?
We are, as a family, very reliant on our devices. That’s actually ok. Phones, tablets, laptops, iPods etc, are incredibly handy. To be honest, my whole life runs with the aid of various devices and I do rely heavily on them.
However, I do also believe that we can have time away from our screens and devices. Our children emulate us, copy us and mimic us, and the other day, when I had to tell my small son off for trying to do a chore, that I had asked him to do, whilst he was still buried deep in his iPad and he came back at me with “well you do that too”, I realised we probably need to be able to take a break from our screens.
Screens and devices are excellent tools but can be detrimental to our health. Limiting screen time or taking a break from screens is good for us. We have also tried to be stricter (and succeeded and failed) to not have phones in our bedrooms at night as a better example to our kids.
The plan is to switch off devices for 24 hours. Probably at the weekend. No phones, no tablet devices. Possibly no tv, depending on what we use it for (if I am using TV to babysit the kids to get stuff done then I possibly need to think about other ways to encourage less screen time, but if we are all together watching a family movie and focusing on that and each other, then I think that’s ok”)
So we are starting today. At 12pm, approximately. All devices will be turned off and popped in a space where we don’t touch them. We will make sure that if anyone REALLY needs to get hold of us, they can use that rather old fashioned thing called our “landline” and we will do life “old school” as my tween puts it.
How are we all feeling about it? Will we manage?
Is horrified. She doesn’t see why we have to, and is wondering how she will survive without her games and iMessage and being able to sms her friends for 24 hours. She does use her phone to access her homework via her school, so we will make sure she doesn’t need to access that. She is not amused. She will probably not die for lack of screen time, even though she thinks she will.
Thinks it might be quite fun. Although I suspect there may be a meltdown when he can’t play his game when he wants to, and has to find something else to do, first thing in the morning when his parents are not caffeinated enough to hold a conversation with him.
The husband: actually wrote something down for me.
“Going into 24 hours without my trusty electronic companion I feel strangely anxious. I’m becoming aware of a dependency on this “thing”. A quick glance at the apple screen-time app and I see that my “pickups” are much more frequent than I would have expected and I’m filling small gaps that I am trying to encourage my children not to fill. I can manage the idea of not using the device but I must admit I’m struggling with the idea of being without entirely. I will no doubt survive 😉 and I really think this will be good for me (and the rest of the family as well). Another part of me is looking forward to having more insight into my dependency on this small lump of silicon and then thinking about some sensible healthy lifestyle choices off the back of it…”
I am kind of nervous. I rely on my phone and laptop A LOT. I think I may find myself shocked at how much. I am also looking forward to not having it in my hand or pocket for 24 hours. There are other things that I think will make 24 hours of screen-free time good for me. We shall see.
So, here we go. Switching off. Hand over the iPad, iPhone, MacBook. 24 hours of screen free time. Who will crack first, or will screen-free time be easier than we think?