Why I Stopped Managing
My Kids' Screen Time
Let’s face it, moms. We (or at least most of us) don’t know the best way to handle our kids’ screen time. We are the first generation of moms raising digital natives. Our kids have the wide world web in their back pockets and can navigate on the computer and mobile devices like it’s nobody’s business. All this while we’re standing back, silently rationalizing whether they should spend so much time in front of a screen. [Related Post: A Mom's Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World]
I’ve been through the gamut trying to come up with win-win tech rules for my family. Once upon a time, I micromanaged the use, complete with log sheets so that we were sure everyone got their allotted time on the computer. Then, I tried limiting computer time to just a few hours each day. I’ve had charts with different time limits for different activities. And frankly, my friend, all those methods were a mommy-management nightmare.
I wasn't consistent about checking who was using the computer when. But, since they wanted to be sure they got their turn, my kids did a thorough job of keeping track of each other’s time…and nagging each other, bickering and complaining to me if someone was breaking the rules. The legalistic rules I had made led to strained relationships and unrest in our home.
I knew that I needed to stop micro-managing my kids' screen time. I needed to teach my children to self-govern their tech habits. I needed to promote the premise that relationships are more important than technology. I needed to give more freedom to have more peace in our home. I'm raising my kids to be loving, responsible and productive adults, so I needed to guide them toward healthy tech habits. [Related Post: 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family]
So, Mike & I came up with Unlimited Tech Time Guidelines. Now, this may seem counterproductive. You may be thinking, “Kids would be on the computer ALL….DAY….LONG.” But, notice that even though my kids can use computers as much as they want, we put some parameters in place to promote healthy habits. And…if someone violates the policy, they lose the privilege to use tech devices.
Take note that these guidelines apply to productive tech time, not techertainment. Techertainment – that time in front of a screen for pure entertainment – is limited to one hour daily. But productive tech time is unlimited within the confines of our guidelines. [Related Post: Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics? 3 Questions to Ask]
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