Sunday, 16 February 2014

On Disconnecting To Reconnect...

I am seriously implementing a radical change in our family.
I am worn of seeing my children's childhoods ticking away while plugged-in to devices. At every turn there's a child gaming on a handheld or fixated on a tablet or television, computer or mobile phone.
I regularly see my kids eating with them, sleeping with them and even visiting the toilet with them. Earlier this week within minutes of our arrival home after school, I walked in on this disturbing scene in our lounge:

Four boys, four screen gaming and a very unhappy little Sister.
 
I felt so uncomfortable being faced with this.
Seeing my baby daughter crying amongst these gaming, disconnected, statue-like boys (who she has missed terribly all day), and being so ignored, really shook me up.
I realise this has been going on for a very long time: Too long. I understand that I am often too busy to stay on top of the bulk of kids' movements and that a long stint of their precious screen-time means relative peace for myself. (And I need that time alone so much.) All this must change however.
Where has our family's together-time gone? 
Do these boys actually remember how to play and interact with one another?
When did my parenting skills lapse so badly that I had not even noticed the scale of this 'addiction' earlier?
I have decided to brave the inevitable objections, tantrums and battles and pull the plug on all of it.
From here on, television viewing will be strictly timed.
Video games will be banned on weekdays.
Computer time must be earned through chores and be strictly timed too.
I long to see my children play together more, use their imaginations actively and reconnect through conversation with each other and us - their parents.
If this change doesn't start today, I fear my children's relationships with one another will be the disconnected factor in the future.
What do you think? Am I being over-concerned and too harsh or sensible?
Have you grown complacent about screens in your home too?
Have you ever 'switched-off?'
How did it go for you?
 

14 comments:

  1. Hi Jody, no I don't think you're being too over concerned at all. We live in such a technological world's that is become almost second nature to kids. My friend had six kids as well and she limited all screen time to 2hrs a day every day of the week. They could decide what they wanted to do and back it up but once their 2hrs was up that was it no more it was outside our playing in the games room. I understand why the scene above upset you it would me too and even I've been thinking I'm on something too often myself lately. I'm determined for bub to be an old school wood blocks, cards, trucks, sand pit type kid though I'm noticing that when I pick up my phone or tab he wants it and wants to look at things on it. So I'm limiting my time on these to when he's in bed and once he's up that's it, I'd rather him watch me paint a piece of furniture than be on something technological......

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    1. Yes, Celeste is also making huge grabs for my screens. I have never seen a baby use an iPad like she can! I have had to put my own devices away when feeding her now as she won't breastfeed when they are around - always trying to grab them.

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  2. I personally think that it is something that we should all do! Life would be so much more productive if we all logged out or switched off for a little while!

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    1. Yes Holly, so much more gets done if there's no screen time.

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  3. It's going to be a tough ride for you, but ultimately so completely worth it in the end. I think you're being very sensible! I think we should all do this, our lives have become so dependant upon the devices that we no longer understand the importance of shutting down and switching off. Good luck to you!

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    1. I don't want to look up from my own screen one day and find they are all grown up and gone. I am so disappointed to see that many of their Christmas presents are not even being played with in favour of the screens!

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  4. I wish Trent would disconnect from his gadgets! I spend so much time trying to talk to him while hes immersed in call of duty or candy crush. I'm sick of repeating myself over and over.

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    1. LOL! Toni, I too am a Playstation Widow! He is connected to that thing every evening into the wee small hours of the morning. I can't complain too hard as I am often blogging anyway. It's the kids who really bother me though! We could definitely do with some improvement too though. :D

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  5. We also had to ban electronics through the week as the kids were just glued to it and the fighting... OMG the fighting! I wish I could just ban it altogether but its just not going to happen, so now they have to earn time on it on the weekends xx

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  6. I've become complacent too, too often I like the peace and can ignore the fighting .
    I am guilty too.
    It's time to change.

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  7. DO it love. You are clearly a great mum! you're right this is going to tick at your sanity BUT its all for the good. Good luck and write a post after a week - good or bad lol and then another after a month lets see how the boys go :)
    Thank you so much for linking up for Sunday Brunch @ Mums xxx
    Good luck!

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  8. I have very strict rules regarding technology in our home. My kids stare open mouthed at the tv, so I knew when my son started school, 7 years ago, that I needed to ban all tv/computer/gaming monday to thursday (friday night they are allowed tv time). Even on the weekends, technology is monitored. There are many times I want to put it on for my sanity, but *usually* I resist, and the kids know not to expect it, and they have so much 'spare time' now, it's lovely to have them play together. Recently, my 2 eldest asked to have a bit of tv time with us during the week, and we obliged for 1 week, then quickly realised that it was a mistake. By thursday tantrums were rampant and attitude was sky high. So now we are back to original rules, and it's getting easier again. Good luck with the 'detox' period, it will be worth it in the end :)

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    1. I am so glad to hear others have taken this route too. There have been tantrums but surprisingly not too bad! Slowly they are adapting to the new rules and playing together more. It's a worthwhile thing to do.

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