I read a great article that appeared in the New York Times, which reveals how some of the biggest leaders in the tech industry, including the late Steve Jobs, did not allow a technology free-for-all at home. In fact, quite the opposite; these tech titans are acutely aware of the benefits of reining in kids’ screen time at home to make room for the important stuff, like real-life conversations, homework and (although not mentioned in the article), physical activity.
Inspirational words but, come on, how realistic is it to be constantly policing my kids every time they turn on a screen? I wanted to find an achievable way to curb screen time and Make Room for Play in our house, without becoming a nagging, anti-screen, dragon mom. Here’s my plan. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how this works out.
- Have “The Talk”. My kids are old enough (11, 14, 16) to engage in a conversation about healthy habits. I’m going to share the gist of the Steve Jobs article and ask them if they are up for the “screen time into physical activity time challenge” and get them to buy in to the changes we are going to make in screen consumption at home.
- Parental controls. The proliferation of parental control apps for mobile and tablets, and instructions on how to set up parental controls on Windows and Mac make it really easy to set time limits on all devices. Check out our blog How to use technology to limit kids’ screen time to find some great suggestions. I am committed to tapping into these tools to ease the pain of moderating my kids screen time.
- Set the Rules of Engagement. Once we agree (in theory) on what healthy screen habits are, we are collectively going to make a media consumption plan that suits the age and stage of each of my three kids. Then I’m going to post the plan on an inside kitchen cupboard or somewhere that we can refer to so it doesn’t just become more of the blah, blah, blah that I think my kids hear when I speak. Oh, and I’ll get them to sign it, so they feel more ownership of it.
That’s it. Simple, right? As I said, let me put this into action and I will report back on exactly what we do and how it works out in our house.
Stay tuned 😉
Used with permission from Participaction