Every family struggles with screen time. You’re not alone in telling your kids to put down their phones, issuing reminders about dwindling minutes when gaming, and feeling frustrated when requests to get off the computer fall on deaf ears. Some of us have tried to limit minutes using devices that shut off internet access only to find that our crafty kids find workarounds like using their phone as a hotspot or going over to a friend’s house.
It’s not surprising that 84% of parents are concerned about our kids’ tech use but have you ever thought about your own tech usage? If so, you’re among the 58% concerned about the time we spend on technology. Since distractions are causing us to miss out on real-life moments that matters, it’s time to take a look at how to adjust our habits for the better, especially if we want our kids to change theirs.
Even though we may have been more relaxed about device use during the summer, the start of the school year is a perfect time to revisit digital habits. Families with kids of all ages can benefit from reflecting on the role screens play in your lives. Discussing how and when to use devices will help your family decrease screen time struggles.
65% of parents around the world say they’d like more information about how to use digital technology to improve their family’s well being but don’t know where to start. I’m here to help your family work together to identify times when it’s important to disconnect in favour of quality time.
Talk about how devices can sometimes cause people to miss out on things that matter to them. Be honest and share times when you weren’t fully there for an important moment because your head was buried into your phone.
Start your conversation about your family’s digital habits by letting them know you’re working on being more present and you need their help. Tell them you want to work together so none of the answers to the questions you’re about to ask will get them in trouble.
Ask your kids if they (choose a few from this list):
- Find themselves losing track of time when on their phones
- Get distracted by their phone when with friends or family
- Spend more time on social media than they planned to
- Stay on their phone instead of going to sleep like they’re supposed to
- Feel like they’re missing out on something important if they don’t check their phone
- Observe others not being fully present with the people around them
- Feel distracted by technology
- Notice times when you weren’t fully present when they needed you
To follow up, ask how they felt to know when friends, other adults, and YOU weren’t present like they had hoped. Kids are observant so don’t be offended if their honest answers embarrass you!
Use the responses from the questions above to carry the conversation forward about changing digital habits in favor of digital wellbeing.
Ask your kids when should we devote our full attention to a task and why.
Then work together to create a list of the times and places your family feels it’s important to be focused. Also have each child to create a list of times that require their focus.
Kids of a certain age might require prompting so you could ask if they might need to avoid distractions when doing homework (though devices are often needed to complete online assignments and research), engaging in extracurricular activities like sports practice or music lessons, family outings, etc.