Taming Technology in Your Home
Do you ever feel your family struggles to find enough space for screen-free family time? Maybe you battle to tame the techno tyrants within your home.
I know I can relate to this struggle. There are times when I see my entire family engaged in a screen rather than being connected with one another. It pricks my heart to know the moments are quickly passing by and we cannot regain the time spent lost in distractions.
In our household we have our iPhones, iPads, Macs, laptops, and Wii. On any given day, we utilize these devices for work, homeschooling, college, communication with family and friends, and entertainment. To our family, technology is a useful tool that we use as a blessing. However, sometimes it is simply an unwelcome distraction.
My iPhone is a digital servant that helps me work from home on a part-time basis, stay connected with family members, document our lives through photos, and support our educational needs. In conjunction with our iPad, we have mobile apps that complement every subject of study and supplement our book work. Even though these mobile devices are tools designed to serve our needs, oftentimes they function as techno tyrants constantly competing for attention. The glowing device screens perpetually ding, “Look at me! Look at me!” Emails, voicemails, texts, and social media messages provide a continual stream of notifications through my days. It is a blessing to work from home with the new technologies of our digital age, but it is difficult to find a healthy balance each day.
I spent this summer praying about slowing down the daily distractions in my own life so I can be fully present and share meaningful moments with my family. After reading some inspiring books, journaling thoughts on my heart, and praying about our new school year planning, I found a new sense of purpose in taming the techno tyrants. I am not chucking technology or giving up our mobile devices, but I am striving to live less distracted. Our family will continue to have our daily screen time for homeschooling, college, and work, but we want to keep the techno tyrants from devouring meaningful moments that we have together.
Here are a few tips on how we are striving to tame the techno tyrants in our home:
- Live with Margin
- Set a boundary of work-at-home hours
- Consider a daily screen time allowance
- Play outdoors on all good weather days
- Pack picnics
- Completely unplug some weekends
- Take a camping trip
- Go on nature walks
- Sleep under the stars
- Bake cookies together
- Create a screen-free zone at home
- Share meals over conversation rather than screens
- Plan family game nights
- Exchange screen time for discussion over good books
- Eat supper at the park
- Go on more bike rides
- Start geocaching
- Begin a new family hobby project
- Explore nature preserves
- Make time to dream
Some of these we already do and others we do not do enough of yet. One family boundary we maintain is no mobile devices at the supper table. This practice has worked well for us. Our conversations over meals are one of the greatest strengths of our family culture. This is the part of the day where we are all fully present and engaged with one another. Yet in all honesty, there are some days our crew would probably choose playing Wii over other activities if they had their own choice.
Taming the techno tyrants is not always easy. It can be difficult to find the time and space to unplug, but it is well worth the meaningful moments of precious simplicity you can find with your family.
So what about your family? Do you struggle with techno tyrants in your home? What tips can you share on keeping healthy boundaries for screen time in your home? We would love to hear what is working for your family! Please share your tips and ideas in the comments below!