By recently plugging away from screentime, we’re finding more ways to connect as a family.
It all started a few weeks ago when T, in a disregulated fit, hurled his first F-bomb at the hubby.
We grounded him from his tablet for a week; which got extended into two.
I remember telling the hubby what the heck he got us into, because giving T his tablet was a way for us to get time to ourselves. Grounding him was also punishing us! 😆
So yes, it was a hard initial few days but we were pleasantly surprised by how good it’s been for all of us since we reduced T’s screentime.
He was calmer, less irritable, and he filled the time with play. And yes, it was more taxing on us, but the extra time together was wonderful.
The biggest surprise was T really took on drawing as a hobby, spending lots of time working quietly on his sketches.
I love watching him get creative – and he’s shown so much improvement in his drawing; fine motor skills is something the school and the Occupational Therapist assigned to work with him had been practicing with him.
So we dedicated a wall in our living and dining room as T’s gallery space. I love watching it slowly fill up – and so does T.
Maybe it’s a placebo effect or the novelty of drawing – but I like the correlated effect of reduced screen time on T.
So as T’s punishment period neared its end, the hubby and I decided that we’d use the return of T’s tablet as an opportunity to set new ground rules:
- No tablet during school days
- No tablet during meals
- Only 1 hour of tablet each in the morning and in the afternoon; no tablet in the evening
- Immediate timeout from the tablet for using inappropriate language
T whined about it at first, but we explained that we were making these changes, because T has shown such positive changes and that we would use the freed up time for other fun activities, such as more outdoor play and drawing.
He’s been receptive to the changes so far.
And we’re glad – because frankly, we could all unplug from the rhythm of screens, doom scrolling, social media, virtual worlds more and connect more with those in front of us and nature.
Last December, as a Christmas gift to myself, I finally deleted my Twitter after 14 years.
I’ve had enough of the doom scrolling, incivility and toxicity that has infected social media.
I only keep my Facebook to stay connected with family and friends – and don’t have other accounts.
And I don’t miss it one bit.
I often wonder about the digital world that T will grow up in – the innovations and transformations to the way we communicate and connect.
I hope that T will thrive in it safely and successfully; that it’d be just one aspect of his life, rather than something he’s consumed by.
The teen years will be interesting for sure.
All we can do is focus on the here and now and help develop good digital habits and nourish his days with moments unchained from the rhythm.