At the start of a new year many of us make resolutions to try and become better versions of ourselves; more fit, more loving, more generous, more connected with our loved ones. Being more strict about your own screen time greatly improves the odds that you’ll be successful with your resolutions, and if your resolution was to reduce screen time you’re in luck!
Of course, we understand the irony of reading an article on reducing screen time on a screen which is why we’ve put together seven reasons why reducing your screen time is a healthy addition to your new year.
1. You’ll model good screen habits for your kids. A parent’s screen time habits strongly correlate to their kids, and putting the devices down together can create mutual respect. Less screen time is not a punishment, it’s an opportunity to connect as a family.
2. You’ll be more present. Screen time is distracting and takes us away from our environment. By cutting back you’ll notice patterns of behavior that occur with and without the presence of devices.
3. You’ll think better. Everyone’s frontal-lobe functions better with less screen time. You’ll be more creative and have increased problem solving skills which makes family time together more enjoyable.
4. You’ll follow through. Whatever your new years resolution, increased brain function helps us sustain self-discipline. Less screen time builds “grit.”
5. You’ll notice emotions. Putting down the device helps you be more aware in the moment and connected to your emotions. Kids often complain of feeling ignored by parents that are on their devices, even when they’re in the same room. Spending time together promotes healthy attachment and actually helps kids protect themselves against overuse.
6. You’ll be rested. Screens promote hyperarousal which makes sleep difficult. Less screen time, particularly before bed, will help you sleep better.
7. You’ll listen better. God often speaks to us in moments of stillness. Creating time to be with Him separate from distractions will ground you in your faith and connect you to the heartbeat of Jesus.
Great! So how do we reduce our screen time as a family? First, consider giving up all entertainment related use including social media, aimless browsing and video games for one month. Plan a family movie night together for entertainment and discuss what you watched afterwards. Second, try to not use your device when the kids are home. Third, if you must use a device for work or homework when the kids are home set specific time limits and stick to them. Forth, designate a place for devices to live besides in your pocket and keep them there. Lastly, ask your kids what they think healthy screen time looks like and how it makes them feel when adults use devices. Listen and commit to change together.
We all desire better relationships with our loved ones and a deep personal connection with God. Reducing our screen time and developing healthy patterns of device use help us connect with what is truly important.
Vice President of Strategy