We decided as a family to participate this year. There were a few exceptions. Mike was allowed “work-related” time on the computer, email, etc. I allowed myself one hour after the girls’ bedtime to check in on emails, pay bills, blog, etc. The girls were also allowed one hour of TV a night watching a show that Mike and I chose.
The results of the week were pleasant and better than I expected!
Without the distractions and noise of televisions, computer games and phone notifications, we were able to tune into each other as a family. Our girls interacted with each other more. They asked to go outside and ride their bikes almost every night. They sat at the table together and drew pictures; read alone or to their younger sisters. They also spent more time telling me stories about themselves or their day because I was available to listen and give them my full attention. I was so proud of them for not complaining and focusing on making sure we all adhered to the rules!
My phone stayed off but I did take it with me if I went out shopping or to the library. There was no morning news, no checking Facebook in bed before I woke up the girls, no Nickelodean shows for Evangeline to watch during the day. It was quiet and peaceful.
I wrote to-do lists and actually completed them. I finished reading Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto and started a new book. I took Eva shopping during the day. We ate lunch on the deck and talked. She would ask me, "What are we going to do next?" I enjoyed this week! I felt focused and in tune with the home and our family.
The house was more organized and at the end of each weekday we were ready to have five kids come piling in from school with book bags, lunch boxes, homework, and projects. I felt much less stressed. After spending my hour on the computer after the girls went to bed, I was in bed myself by 10 PM and asleep before 11.
It was an ideal week! I was better rested, relaxed and found that "time" I am always complaining about not having. Without the distractions, we all became more creative to find alternative entertainment.
Unfortunately, Mike did not comply and snuck in unnecessary phone and television time. The girls did notice him breaking the rules and would yell, “Hey, Dad is watching TV upstairs!”
I wish that he had tried better to stay true to Screen-Free Week. It is an eye-opening experiment to see how dependent one really is on the devices in their life. Digital devices can become a bad habit and a time waster.
Technology is awesome, however. It is a wonderful thing to have instant information at your fingertips. I love it, actually! The problem is when it reduces the quality of the life you are living. Life does not have to be so urgent! Almost everything can wait. We should all slow down a bit.
I want my girls to remember me making a batch of play dough for them on a Saturday morning, playing baseball in the park together, or watching old episodes of Boy Meets World and telling them how great this show was “back in the day”.
I do not want them to think about how frustrated they got when Mom or Dad would say, "Give me a minute." or "Just let me finish this."
They will never be as young and impressionable as they today. I want to listen to every little story, each giggle, their thoughts and even their complaints. I do not want to miss out.
Life is here for all of us to participate in right now... everyday. There is no better time than right now to start being more mindful of digital screen time.
Your heart and soul just may thank you for it.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.
If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
More articles on being mindful of digital screen-time:
- 7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space @ becomingminimalist.
- Brain Benefits of Screen Liberation @ Psychology Today.
Put Down The Phone, Parents; It Could Be Affecting Your Kids @ CBSMinnesota
- 5 Great Reasons to Not Watch Much TV @ Art of Simple.