Don’t worry, I’m not going to thump you over the head with all the reasons you should get rid of (or use drastically less of) the television, computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc. Okay, so maybe I am. A little.
I’m not anti-electronics and I’m not going to climb onto my roof and start screaming about the evils of technology. Because technology is not inherently evil. It would be ridiculous for me to pretend I thought it was considering I’m tapping out this post on my laptop and will publish it through an electronic transmission at the touch of a button. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
That said, abuse of any kind is not good and we, as a society, absolutely and totally abuse technology. Period. The end.
Well, it’s not really the end, I guess, because I’m just getting started.
I’m going to be honest and to be honest, I’d have to admit that sometimes honesty isn’t my favorite thing. Like when I’m having to rat myself out. Like I’m about to do. Here goes.
In our home we have 2 laptops, 1 desktop, 5 iPad minis, 1 iPad, 2 iPods and 3 cell phones. Oy, I think I need a minute after throwing that out there. Even I think that sounds ridiculous. In my defense, however:
- The iPad mini’s were gifted to our 5 oldest children as a means to enhance their homeschool experience. They are able to download books and other learning tools using this electronic resource.
- The iPad (of regular size) belongs to my hard-working husband who uses it for his schooling. He’s a career firefighter but he’s also working toward his Fire Science degree.
- The desktop is my husband’s and it actually doesn’t really work too well.
- One of the laptops belongs to me and the other belongs to our oldest son who uses it for his online academy.
- The iPods were gifts several years ago from doting grandparents because our teenagers had not yet been permitted to have phones. It was a nice compromise.
- The cell phones belong to my husband, myself and our oldest, who is nearing 17.
Now that I’ve so nicely defended myself allow me to throw myself under the bus. There is no question that electronics abuse is an ongoing struggle in our home. No matter what the intended use of each one of those gadgets mentioned might have been, there is temptation lying right outside the realm of intended use. Lots and lots of temptation.
Here are some guidelines we are implementing:
- No electronics between the hours of 9am and 3:30pm, which are our school hours.
- If schoolwork is completed before 3:30pm, as it is for many of the children, you still may not use the electronics.
- If you are bored during the hours of the electronics ban, find something creative to do. Read, craft, climb a tree, ride a bike, make a fort, be a kid.
- Electronics are to be shut down at 9pm if you are one of the children still up at that hour. This does NOT mean we will expect or allow their faces to be glued to the screen between the hours of 3:30-9pm. Moderation.
- All electronics are to be placed on the office desk for overnight storage.
Frankly, I’d love for my kids not to own a single device. If we could go back, we’d do things differently. But since the horse is already out of the gate, we’ve decided the best path is to train them (and ourselves) to practice self-control. One day they will be on their own with full access to all the technology they want. We want them to be prepared for that onslaught so we’re walking this path with them while they are yet in the fold.
When I think back on my own childhood, I remember scraped knees and dirty fingernails. I have fond memories of my favorite doll and my make-believe family, of which I was the matriarch. I remember playing ball and riding bikes and laughing.
But mostly I remember that I didn’t spend time staring at a screen.
My imagination was fully engaged and if I lacked for something to play, I could always find something to read. That is what I want for my kids. For them to know how to work hard, play well and live life.
I want them to know reality from the photoshopped lies and glossed-over deceptions fed to them from most every online portal. I want them to know boredom so they can hear that sweet voice of Jesus that often calls in a whisper.
And for the record, that’s exactly what I want for myself, too! How about you?