Old MacDonald had a device, uh-oh…

We are a digital family. In particular a Mac family.  Paul and I have Mac Book Airs, we both have iPhone’s.  The kids also use Mac devices, Aaron uses an old iPhone 4 (as a gaming device, not a phone) and Faith uses a 1st Gen iPad.

As with most connected people these days we are a bit obsessed. Yes, all of us, parents included. Personally, I feel very disconnected if I don’t check Twitter and/or Facebook a few times an hour.  Its a bit obsessive and I am trying to at least reduce the amount of time I spend on my phone. Aaron is particularly addicted to {Minecraft}.  Faith watches YouTube videos about Frozen, Superman and those plastic eggs filled with toys and sweets.

I will take responsibility for the device usage by our kids getting out of hand recently.  It much easier to tell the kids to go play a game or watch a video while I’m checking my phone cooking or cleaning than it is to have them underfoot while I’m busy.

The problem is that both kids (and probably the parents if we are being honest) were ‘disappearing’ from the family.  Aaron stopped wanting to go to the park or out to an event (like the olim Purim party) because he wanted to play on his phone all the time.  They would give excuses not to go out, its cold, I’m feeling sick, it will be boring, to name a few.

We tried to limit device time by only allowing them one battery charge a day but that caused fights because the phone battery never lasted as long as the iPad battery.

The final straw for me, came when I walked into the house the other day and no one greeted me.  I think the house could have burned down around them and they would not have noticed, they were so involved with what was on their devices.

family flower

So Paul and I agreed.  No more devices during the week.  We would take them away on  Saturday night (school starts on Sunday here) and only give them back after school on a Friday.  On top of that, the iPad will be charged once during the weekend and the phone twice.  If they run out of battery so be it.  As for the parents, I am making a concerted effort to not be on my phone when I’m with the kids.  I have to say, the kids are adjusting far better than I am.

Aaron and Faith are playing together.  They kick the ball and play hide and seek and draw and make light sabers out of cardboard and sticky tape.  They are practicing a concert to put on for mom and dad at the end of the week.  They make up games that only they know the rules of.  They sit and talk to me while Im cooking and tell me about their days.  They actually want to go outside and play at the park.

I am going to be limiting my online time as well, especially when Im with the kids.  So, no more Twitter and Facebook for me during the week (Im allowing myself half an hour at night to catch up before bed). And no more games on my phone during the week either.

Its so easy to let these things get out of hand but the bottom line is we all need limits and we all have to be strong and stick to those limits.  It really is the best thing we could have done for us as a family.

4 Replies to “Old MacDonald had a device, uh-oh…”

  1. We also limit screentime to weekends only, and parents aren’t allowed phones at the dinner table. Only problem: all my children talk about all week when they’re not playing Minecraft or Terraria is… Minecraft or Terraria… needing to teach the fine art of conversation too…

    1. Haha, I dont think Aaron knows that there is a ‘real’ world outside Minecraft. It is ALL he talks about, ad nauseam! Unless he is asking where babies come from, then I will take Minecraft!

  2. Hi Gina!
    We banned all electronic devices during the week and limited tv to 20 min/day after supper a few months ago and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.
    The kids are better behaved (mostly), play with each other and actually want to have a conversation with you. Love it.

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