We’ve all read the science here and there about how screens are affecting our kids’ minds, how we should limit them to a certain number of hours per day based on age…but we’ve all also needed to clean the kitchen, bake a cake, take a “sick day,” or just drag through a particularly rough Tuesday now and then.
This mom had enough of her kids’ obsession though, and no one was more shocked than she was how much ditching the screens totally changed their lives at home – and beyond.
When mom Molly DeFrank decided to pull the plug cold turkey, she figured that, at the very least, it wasn’t going to hurt anyone. She was noticing that her kids were losing interest in socializing in person, they could be cranky and aggressive when told it was time to turn screens off, and many other negative behaviors that sociologists and psychologists have warned could be connected to too much screen time for those with underdeveloped brains.
I mean. I feel like the same things apply to those of us with supposed-developed brains, too, so take heed.
For Molly and her husband, it came to a head when they realized not one of their five children cared whether or not they spent time together or with their parents, as long as they had a screen. They put a 30-day detox plan into place, but in the end, discovered it didn’t take nearly that long to wean them off – and even the kids admitted they were happier for the switch.
Their children are all under 10, but their intense initial reaction to the decision only solidified the DeFrank’s resolve.
“It turns out that screens were doing to my children exactly what the studies claimed they were doing; cultivating distracted, grumpy, argumentative little people. …Quitting was shockingly easy, surprisingly sustainable, and my nine-year-old daughter has told me on several occasions that she’s glad we’ve cut them out.”
Instead of playing video games or watching television, family time at the DeFrank’s looks like everyone grabbing a book and reading together, or taking a trip to the library to pick out more books.
Cutting out technology all together may not be for you – if you’ve got children too young to entertain themselves safely another way while you say, shower, or you’re putting more than one little to bed and need a way to keep one contained while you put the baby down, etc. – even Molly and her husband acknowledge it’s not evil, in and of itself.
“Technology can, of course, be useful – in its right place. The key is making technology work for us, rather than the other way around.”
Basically, the DeFrank’s have proven – colloquially – that what the experts are saying is true. The limits and suggestions are rules are there for a reason, and what’s best for the little developing minds in our own homes is to follow them on the days that we can.
I know I’m going to make more of an effort with mine!
What are your rules for screen time? Do you break them more than you should? How would a total ban go down at your house?
Let’s discuss in the comments!