Screens – It’s Time to Turn it off

Tablets, games consoles, smart phones, computers, televisions…the list of screens available in our house is ridiculous but I bet it is no different to most busy family homes. Technology and the internet are an amazing thing and the advances made and opportunities (blogging anyone?) available never fail to fascinate me but despite this, I’m about to make what will be a very controversial family decision to ban ‘screen time’ as it’s widely referred to, during our free time in the week. Let me explain why.

We have stopped communicating, to the point where Zak will come in from school and go straight up to his room to watch someone called Dan DTM wax lyrical about the joys of Minecraft on YouTube. So he isn’t even playing it, he’s watching someone else play it. This is one of many examples where he would prefer to watch something than play out or do an activity. I worry that he is starting to live his life through a screen rather than being present in the moment.

I’m ashamed to say that  this is quite likely to be a learned behaviour as in my spare time, I can often be found watching videos on YouTube also. He sees that I have my iPhone glued to me at all times and I am constantly checking my social media accounts like a crack addict, secretly stealing my next fix. Even when something beautiful, poignant or funny happens in my life, my first thought is to grab my phone, snap a picture or take a video and get it uploaded to see what reaction it has in the online world. In doing so, I have usually missed the moment myself.

In the evenings we always watch TV – we barely speak unless it is to comment on what we are watching. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching a good movie together as a family or following along with a favourite TV series but for the most part we flick through hundreds of channels, grumbling about how there is nothing on and then settle for watching something completely rubbish. The habit of interacting through ‘screen time’ is so ingrained in our family life that I know it’s going  to be extremely difficult to break and go cold turkey.

What are we going to do with our spare time then? Well, I’m hoping we are going to talk to each other about our day, about what was great and what was not so great, about anything really. Hopefully, we will get the chance to read the books we always meant to read, get outside in the fresh air after school / work and who knows what else. That’s the thing though, I’m afraid if we don’t turn off our screens then there will be nothing else. I don’t want to live my life, watching others through a screen and I don’t want my kids to waste their imaginations and childhoods doing that either. I will update in a few weeks with how we are getting on – wish  us luck!

 

Mummuddlingthrough

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26 Comments

  1. Julia
    March 9, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    Good luck! I find being without my ( broken) iPhone hard!

  2. laura447
    March 9, 2016 / 3:46 pm

    Can’t wait to read about how you get on! I think it’s a brilliant idea and when our little one is older (well we can implement it now really) we’re going to be pretty strict on screen time for all the family.

    Laura x

    • March 9, 2016 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you! I’ve just told Zak, he’s not impressed lol X

  3. March 9, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on – I am a big advocate of technology for children however it has to be within a variety – once you feel you are losing touch, not communicating and it is taking over, you are totally right, it’s got to turn off. Even if only for a small period of time. H x

  4. March 9, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    I think it’s really hard to know when to stop kids with screens, it’s important for them to use them as a learning tool and for enjoyment but I don’t think it should replace family time/activities/outdoors time! Hopefully when the weather gets nicer getting out and about and away from the screens will be easier. Good luck!!

  5. March 9, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    I like this blog post, my son is too little at the moment. But my husband and I are terrible! I would be interested to see how you get on. Good luck!

  6. BloggerMummyLauren
    March 9, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Good luck, interested to see how you get on. I think technology is a wonderful tool for children, but sometimes you have to know when enough is enough. We have a schedule, and we have outdoor activities, reading and family chat time scheduled in, then the kids can use their iPads in-between, which works well for us.

  7. March 9, 2016 / 11:34 pm

    We’ve made a conscious effort not to use the Internet on the weekend. It doesn’t always work but we are trying.

  8. March 10, 2016 / 9:31 am

    Good luck! I’m guilty of going on my phone too much and try and limit myself when it’s family time. X

  9. March 10, 2016 / 9:53 am

    We have every Wednesday off from technology and in the beginning it was a bit like what on earth do we do but now we really enjoy the time together. x

  10. March 10, 2016 / 11:42 am

    good luck with it. It is all about moderation but that is something that children, or at least mine, don’t seem to understand!

  11. March 10, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Good luck! I do tend to agree, my iPhone is never far away from me and I know I should check it less than I do. My daughter is only 2 and I don’t plan on buying her her own tablet or anything anytime soon! xo

  12. March 10, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing how u get on. I think its important to make sure that everyone has some screen free time and have fun as a family.

  13. March 10, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    great post and one that will ring true to a lot of parents I am sure. Mine are teen and it’s getting harder but we have a no phone policy if we are eating together or watching films as a family at the weekend – i sometimes finder it harder than them though not to check my phone! #coolmumclub

    • March 10, 2016 / 2:05 pm

      It’s really difficult isn’t it! Thanks for reading x

  14. March 10, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    It’s so difficult to find the right balance especially when being online is your ‘job’. My husband and I tried to switch off in the evening this week but I’m ashamed to say it was actually quite hard x

    • March 10, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      It is hard isn’t it – I’m online for my work and I need constant access to social media as part of that but I’m going to make a conscious effort to turn it off each evening x

  15. March 10, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    I hear you – turning to a screen for that 5 minutes of peace or to zone out…it just draws you in and that 5 minutes became half an hour….an hour before you know it.
    We decided not to put a TV in our kitchen / dining area and it’s a God send. When the TV becomes too much it goes off and we go into a screen free zone in the house – packed with games and music systems. The girls can always be lured away from the screen with a princess dress and disco light 🙂
    Good luck! Let us know how it goes, and thank you for linking up to #coolmumclub

    • March 10, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      That sounds like so much fun! I’m sure once we get past the strips and “it’s not fair” whinges that we will find fun things to do together – that’s what I’m hoping anyway! Thanks for visiting x

  16. March 11, 2016 / 7:17 am

    Good for you I’m going to massively cut screen time down in our house too. Good luck x

  17. March 11, 2016 / 9:08 am

    I don’t know how mums cope these days with technology. It was bad enough when I was growing up having a tv and a gameboy, and then later a desktop computer. I find it hard to stay away from my own screens yet alone telling kids they’ve had enough! x

  18. March 11, 2016 / 10:57 am

    we are so guilty of this too and really need to cut it down. Good luck with your efforts. I’m gonna have to think about how we’re gonna do this – perhaps a media free day once a week. x

    • March 11, 2016 / 3:26 pm

      I think one day a week is a good compromise. I will post back next weekend and let you know how the first week goes. Thanks for reading, please share if you enjoyed it would make my day X

  19. March 12, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    My daughter is only 4 and she alreDy loves technology. We try to limit it but I can see this being more hale going as she gets older. x

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