Limiting screen time is super difficult for parents these days. Especially because we are often on our phones or our other electronics ourselves. The unfortunate part of it all is that by allowing our kids unlimited screen time, they are not able to recognize when it’s appropriate to create boundaries for themselves. How many times do you see a group of kids on their phones at a restaurant or Starbucks? I often wonder, why do they bother being together? It is very very very HARD (did I say very?!) to limit our own screen time and lead by example, but here are some things that we do in our household, that I think are working and I’d like to share with you. Everyone is entitled to their opinions about boundaries, but these are some strategies and rules that have been successful for us (so far).
- You simply cannot check your phone until you finish your morning chores. Feed the dog, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, then get ready for school. No phones are turned on until then. Trust me, it makes those morning chores go much faster.
- Use your phone at school to only contact your mom and dad or with the teacher’s permission for homework. If you are Instagramming from school, there is hell to pay!
- No using other people’s phones for texting or Snapchatting. You cannot pretend to be someone else and text friends from someone’s phone. It’s your own device or nothing. (I learnt this one the hard way!)
- Applications cannot be downloaded without approval by your Mom. *Note: Personally, I don’t want a Snapchat profile and my Instagram feed is filled with my kid’s friends photos, but that is the best way to know what they are up to. If they are on it, you’d better get on it too!
- Human interaction trumps screen time. If you are in a group in a social situation, i.e. a restaurant, put your phone away and look them in the eye and have a conversation.
- No phones or iPads at the dinner table. Ever.
- If you are a watching a TV show, only checking phones at the commercials is allowed.
- Phones turn off at 8:00pm every night. If anything happens after 8:00pm, you can learn about it tomorrow. No exceptions.
These may seem harsh and hard to implement (like I said, I could do without the random social media messages I get everyday from spammers) but we are navigating a new world with unlimited access on our devices. Social skills are being forgotten and common courtesy is not so common. At least by putting some boundaries in place, we can try to raise healthy and sociable teens.
What types of things do you do to limit screen time?
This post was originally published on scarlettballantyne.com.
About Scarlett Ballantyne
Scarlett Ballantyne is a freelance writer, makeup artist, designer, and business owner. Married with children, she is an active dance-mom of two teenage girls. When she isn’t chauffeuring kids around, she is passionate about photography, cooking healthy meals and Dancing with the Stars. Scarlett’s musings on parenting have been published on Scary Mommy and the Huffington Post Canada. You can also catch her sharing musings, beauty tips, mompreneur advice and photography on her blog, That Mom Hustle by Scarlett Ballantyne www.scarlettballantyne.com