By: Lauren Tankle
I am a millennial. So, my iPhone is like another appendage to me. I use it for my calendar, my emails, my calculator, my lists, my map, along with my means of communication. What time does the supermarket close tonight? I’ll check Google. Can’t think of something to eat but I have food at home? There’s an app for that. If I want to check my bank account? Great, let me log into my online bank account. This tool has made my life 1000 times easier, but what are the long term effects going to be?
When I was younger, we had TV, we had a computer, we had video games & we had Gameboys so I wasn’t completely sheltered from the technology world. We had a family cell phone that someone would bring with them when they left the house. I wonder if there is a big difference between my son using my phone when we are driving in the car to pass the time or a big difference between him playing on my phone instead of playing with a Gameboy or Sega video games like my siblings and I did?
I read these articles all the time about how kids are so much worse off today because of the presence of technology. One article that I thought was very interesting and full of a lot of information and diagrams to help my brain wrap around all the theories is this particular article by the Huffington Post.
After reading similar articles, I go through spurts of feeling scared that I’m totally setting my kid up for failure by exposing him to the technology.
Recently, I started to wonder how my son would be different if I never had exposed him to technology. I wonder if he would be smarter or happier or less hyper. Would he be behind other kids because he wasn’t as familiar with technology? Do I embrace that he can be handed any piece of technology and know exactly how to navigate around it? Would I have to keep him from using phones or iPads when he was with other kids who were allowed to use those gadgets? I don’t have the answers. (Don’t tell my kid that!)
I have begun to limit my son’s use of the tablet to one hour per day. I have filled the void of the tablet with games and coloring or arts and crafts. I haven’t seen any drastic changes, but I’m sure over time it will be healthier for my family.
Now, I have to work on limiting my screen time. I feel like I am so guilty of not practicing what I preach. I will take his electronics away and then go ahead and use mine. I have been trying to put my phone away when I first get home from work and until after dinner. I also don’t have it out for our bedtime routine. It seems to work out fine, until I check my phone later in the night and have missed texts and calls.
I feel like limiting screen time is probably the best approach for my family. Every family has different feelings or needs when it comes to technology. What are some techniques your family uses to “unplug”? What effects have you seen in your own homes due to too much screen time or limiting screen time? I will be checking back for ideas in the comment below because it is still an ongoing process in my home and any and all information from real life moms would help. Thank you in advance!
If you want to learn more about the effects of technology on families, check out these other articles I found really interesting: