While visiting a local farm for some fall festivities over the weekend, I got to thinking about the decisions Jaala and I have made to protect our time together. One of the most life-giving decisions we recently made has been the decision to monitor our screen time and set some boundaries (primarily on social media with our smartphones). While social media certainly has its place in our life - allowing us to keep up with family and friends who we don't get to see often as well as running our business from wherever we are - we realize life isn't truly lived by scrolling our Facebook News Feed, double tapping little squares on Instagram, and checking current (more times than not, completely irrelevant) news on Twitter. Life is ultimately lived by being present and available to the people around you, especially those wonderful souls who live in the same house as you.
Here are a few boundaries we've implemented in our family, some being adopted from folks we greatly admire and respect, that are helping us keep screen time at bay:
1. Phones are off and/or put away for at least one full hour a day, one full day a week, and one full week a year.
2. Close down all screen time an hour before bed.
3. No phones allowed in the bedroom.
4. Before or after certain hours, only answer calls and reply to texts and messages from certain people.
Granted, we haven't mastered these disciplines, but we are working toward making them part of our daily routines (#ProgressOverPerfection). Two scenarios that we have to remain flexible on are (1) when we're both away from Miles at the same time, at his current age, and (2) when Jaala is "on-call" for crisis situations with her work schedule.
The world can wait. What culture says is urgent isn't always important. Every notification isn't an emergency and you don't have to be available to everyone at all times.
Miles is obviously growing up in a touchscreen, social media-saturated world, and we want him to know his value isn't found in the popularity contest many people play online (which leads to the comparison trap). As easy as it is to complain about the frequency of technology use by the next generation, we have to ask ourselves how we arrived here... How did we get to a place where our society prefers pixels over people? If we're honest, most of us can admit that we've all played some small part, one way or another. Either way, we realize distracted parenting leads to disengaged children. That said, we want to steward our time and resources in such a way that we don't look back with guilt, years from now, disappointed that our son was raised by a phone or a tablet, seeing more of the tops of our heads instead of the smiles on our faces.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you placed any boundaries around screen time in your home? If so, tell us about it below.
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