Recently, my daughters have been very interested in some of the newer apps available online.
And while they don’t have much access into the online world, I do believe moderation and balance — rather than all-out avoidance — is the best way to teach children about this amazing resource called the Internet.
So I’m inclined to give it a try … trusting that they know how to balance their online time with the rest of the cool things they can do.
BUT. The very impetuous behind me starting this online space was to inspire human beings — all human beings — to stay awake and live intentionally — and that means making some impactful decisions about how we spend our time.
Awake is still my guiding word. My mission. I wear the word on a necklace. I try and live it daily.
And while I do write online and market online and live a great deal of my own life online, I also really balance that out with lots of time offline, outside and in nature.
I do believe MOST families try to do this as well.
But now and then I get sad to see how the online world is changing our landscape and our families. Many children no longer know how to just be in the world — without some form of screen entertainment. Sitting and waiting is no longer sitting and waiting.
We have no idea how much all this screen time is doing to our brains, particularly the damaging blue light of phones and iPads.
But what we do know is that research is showing that anxiety is up, attention deficit is up, depression and suicide rates are up and our time outdoors is becoming less and less.
Is there a connection?
I don’t know. But here’s the thing: No one knows. The research is alarmingly in favor of less screens are better for our children’s brains. But we don’t have enough studies to really know the true impact.
Until I know more, I will continue to try and find the right balance for my daughters.
We’re always trying to balance screen time so that we never need to truly unplug or disconnect for long periods of time because while that seems like a fun idea, it’s not necessary when you balance your daily online time well. That’s why we love the app OurPact, which allows my children to stay balanced in device use.
Ah, so what this means is that a parent from any device can have the ability to block their child’s use. “Pretty powerful stuff here,” OurPact notes.
An app is one way to start a digital detox in your family.
But how do you know when a digital detox is necessary?
I demonstrate certain signs when I need to recalibrate and find my center when it comes to screens, television and the online world — and I know the signs of my family’s need to do the same.
In this case, a digital detox means to take a step back and adjust what you are doing and how you are doing it, which may mean breaking some bad habits like checking email first thing in the morning or turning to screens out of pure boredom rather than challenging yourselves to do something else. In some cases, it might mean signing off entirely … or it might mean being more balanced in how and when you use your screens.
5 Signs Your Family Needs a Digital Detox
Our children act out and act up when they are feeling a disconnection from us. That disconnect can be caused by many things — including a very busy schedule — but too much time online and not enough time engaging with each other in a meaningful way can also cause disconnect.
THE DIGITAL DETOX REMEDY — Rebuild your connection
I have seen this first hand … the irritability that one feels after being on their device and being interrupted. Needing to transition or shift into the next thing and not wanting to do so. Screens are our latest addiction and when using them causes us to feel icky, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate their purpose.
THE REMEDY — Unplug and get outside
When everyone is choosing to get on screens rather than connect and engage — or be creative and have fun in other ways, it’s time to examine WHY that is the case. Sometimes we’re just bored and it’s OK, but if turning to screens is the only pastime you or your kids are choosing, it’s time to start being a bit more imaginative about how to spend your time.
THE REMEDY — Try these quiet family rituals
CONVERSATION IS LACKING
If all you or a family member talks about is what they did or read online, perhaps it’s time to adjust the amount of time spent online. The online world is very busy and noisy. And it’s filled — FILLED — with videos of crazy things that none of us really need to watch and see, no matter how entertaining it is. Being aware of how that information is impacting your brains is really crucial. Moderation is key.
THE REMEDY — Institute Quiet Togetherness
When you start to feel resentment — or as I call the Land of Bitter and Sour — over the amount of screen time your partner or your children are using that is a sign that a conversation and balance are needed to make sure that everyone feels seen and heard. Finding that balance that YOU can be happy with is essential. You know more than your child does. Trust that you know how much is too much.
THE REMEDY — Set Clear Expectations and Priorities
Learn more about OurPact and download their app to try it out and see if it can help your family recalibrate your digital use. And take advantage of their awesome giveaway …