Lately whenever I walk into our living room I see everyone in our family. They’re all sitting in the same room together but they’re not paying attention to anything except the screen that is in their hands. They are together but not together. We watch a movie and one or more are seen playing on a screen, texting a friend…Some days I find my son trying to multi-task – watching one screen while playing on another. This simply cannot be.
I understand that in this day and age technology is everywhere. You see families together, out to eat, who are all buried in a screen. Children only four (sometimes younger) entertained by a screen. Together but totally separate from one another. Fussing? Fighting? Give them that screen. While I understand these screens can be used for so many amazing things I cannot help but want to scream because I just don’t like these screens.
I often tell my kids about those wonderful days back before there were all these screens. When people actually had conversations and were able to entertain themselves. Amazing books, creations made, wisdom and virtue. Now it seems people barely make eye contact when talking to each other. Everyone is listening and jumping the moment their phone makes a noise; everyone fills their moment with games and videos. Trivial things. And somehow it seems this is the norm. It is okay.
Lately whenever I walk into a room I see everyone in our family. They’re all sitting in the same room together but they’re not paying attention to anything except the screen that is in their hands.
I understand that in this day and age technology is everywhere. And I understand these screams used for so many amazing things but I cannot help but want to scream because I just don’t like the screens.
I often tell my kids about those wonderful days back before they were all these screens. When people actually had conversations and were able to entertain themselves. Now it seems people barely make eye contact when talking to each other because they’re too busy playing on their phone or their tablet. And somehow it seems that that has become a thing that is okay.
I remind my children almost daily that anything that we have needs to be properly used. Like my younger son with his hammer & nails. In order to safely use it, we have to be using it properly. You have to have self control and patience. You have to have a plan from start to finish. It is the same thing with all these screens. We need to be wise and responsible.
I remind my children almost daily that anything that we have needs to be properly used. It’s like using a hammer & nails. In order to safely use it it has to be used properly. You have to have self control and patience. You have to have a plan from start to finish. It is the same thing with all these screens.
Until recently we were hosting an exchange student, one who loved to spoil and pamper our children. She was all about keeping the peace. She could not understand why I was so upset that she would ply my kids with candy and games on her phone, to keep them happy. Isn’t that how so many things are done nowadays?
Forget having a strong character; forget about learning that life is not all about us. Just keep everyone happy. Whatever feels good, whatever brings us joy. It should be ours for the taking.
Unfortunately most people who subscribe to that kind of thinking are people that very few truly want to be around. They have learned that thy can get whatever they want. Complain, throw a tantrum and people do whatever it take to find peace. These are those who no one truly enjoys being around. And when our kids have too much of anything, screens included, they become very unpleasant to be around.
All things nee to be managed. I was so grateful when it was recommended to me to read Essentialism by Greg McKeown . The author suggested tickets; specifically handing out a limited number of ‘Technology Tickets’ at the beginning of every week and letting kids turn one in when they want some screen time. They can earn additional tickets by reading for 30 minutes and at the end of the week, they have the option of turning in unused tickets for use.
Since I am not at all crafty, or technologically savvy I searched online until I found some Technology Tickets that I could use. Since i have four kiddos I went ahead and printed off multiples; I made sure to write names on each one so there can be no confusion (or deception). There are tickets for both 15 minutes and 30 minutes on these pages. A great way to exercise those math skills. 🙂
Having been flying blind for awhile now, I have been desperately trying to find something that I can implement, quickly and this seemed to be a wonderful suggestion so we are off and running. Tickets printed and labelled and laminated.
We are unschoolers but we do strive to have some form of peace and organization in the home. Especially when it comes to things like reading, writing and math I am still a real stickler for “getting it done” because those are things that are just not negotiable. Same thing with studying the Word of God each day; there are verses to learn and study for their Bible Quiz program.
I am not certain how well this will work but as I see it right now, it certainly cannot hurt anything. One thing I do notice is the need to strew just a bit more now; its amazing how (at least mine) are kind of dazed and confused without their screens. They wander about, they poke at each other, they grumble a bit – And I see as they do this that there is definitely a need to manage, to decrease screen time, around here.
So now we have these tickets – we also have a variety of fun things to encourage them to explore and learn, to play and create. There are books all about and I think I may take some time later this week to design an “I’m Bored Jar” for when they just cannot find something to do with themselves. (my kids do think the word “bored” is a swear word so they don’t say it as often as they might feel it but still..)
Here’s to finding some calm in all the chaos. Here is the childhood that is free and fun and full of beautiful imaginings!