Cutting The Power Cord


Cutting The Power CordAs a teacher and parent, it has become obvious to me that children in today’s society are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, both for work and play. In school, at home, in restaurants, and everywhere in between, kids are exposed to screens constantly.

In my role as a teacher-mom, I can’t help but notice an increase in problematic behavior, impulsiveness, reading struggles, social-emotional issues, and struggling mental health in adolescents. In my humble opinion, the connection between the two cannot be ignored. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, “A new study suggests that too much screen time during infancy may lead to changes in brain activity, as well as problems with executive functioning — the ability to stay focused and control impulses, behaviors, and emotions — in elementary school.” Am I saying technology, computers, phones, or games are bad in and of themselves? Absolutely not. However, the convenience of having our children sit on a screen is causing more harm than good to their underdeveloped brains. That is why — as moms in a modern age — we need to be intentional and thoughtful about how our children spend their time. 

I am above and beyond guilty of letting my kids watch tv instead of planning a craft or activity for them to do on the weekends. Sometimes, it’s easier to let them have tablet time instead of running around and playing with them after a long day of work. Because of this, I am seeing struggles of poor self-esteem, difficulty making friends, and impulsivity and inattentiveness in my own child. I’m also seeing these issues in myself. I struggle to complete tasks and I am constantly overstimulated and overwhelmed. My self-esteem is at an all-time low for not being an Instagram-worthy mother. It’s so easy for me to acknowledge the negative impact of technology on my children and say it needs to be cut down (or removed at home altogether), but to acknowledge that issue in my own life has been very challenging. But it’s true, nonetheless.

After coming to these realizations, I came to some conclusions.

The issue isn’t going to resolve itself. We won’t naturally spend less time on tech. I can’t just say it’s a problem and hope for it to go away. I’ve decided to approach my family’s time with intentionality and practicality.

Obviously, totally eliminating screens isn’t going to be realistic, so here are some practical goals I’ve set for our family:

    1. Every dinner, without exception, we will eat together at the table SCREEN FREE.
    2. The bedrooms in our home are completely screen free. This is very important to us when it comes to our children. It eliminates the risk that our children will be exposed to mature content that we aren’t ready for them to be exposed to. It also ensures that our children won’t be staying up late on screens rather than getting the rest required for their bodies and brains to grow and develop. It encourages family time, imaginative play, and reading.
    3. Once a week this summer, we will go on a hike or do some sort of outdoor exploration as a family. This includes camping, hiking, rock climbing, swimming in a pond, caving, and many of the other adventurous activities our community has to offer. 
    4. Unless someone is sick, screen time (video games, movies, etc.) are reserved for weekends only
    5. All technology in our household is heavily monitored: no games, apps, movies, or tv shows are accessible to our children without parent approval. 

I realize this may seem strict, but from my personal experience as an educator, I know the effect of unmonitored and unmanaged technology access is detrimental to adolescents. I think it’s time we normalize boredom, playing outside, and hands-on parenting rather than pushing towards gaming and entertainment at home. While everything has its place, it’s overwhelmingly apparent that children in today’s society are suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally because of the overwhelming presence of technology and social media.

As mothers, we must decide to rise up and be intentional about how our children and families spend their time.


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