The other day I was talking to another mom about screen time and she told me about some articles in the LDS Church's magazines this month I hadn't yet had the opportunity to read. (Note: There are several different monthly magazines published by the LDS church. The Ensign is a general magazine for adults; the New Era is generally for teens; The Friend is generally for children. Screen time articles can be viewed here: The Ensign, New Era, The Friend. Click on each link separately to view the separate articles.)
The articles were very timely, since we seem to have daily battles in our house about screen time. Kids will be kids, and if I'm not monitoring, their daily allotted hour becomes two. A few times my children and friends or cousins have posted video links to facebook that are one link away from a link to pornography. (Thank goodness for an army of moms who notice!) Ipods and phones, which are supposed to be checked in at night somehow "accidentally" make it into rooms. Kids get a text during family time that they "have to" respond to. The list of screen time and internet mess ups and misuse are as limitless as the possibilities (which of course, are also limitless).
When I read the articles, my mom brain wheels were turning, and for Family Home Evening last night we discussed appropriate and inappropriate use of screen time.
Each child participated in sharing part of the above articles for discussion.
As part of the lesson, I had the kids go on a two-minute hunt through the house to find things they could do with friends besides screen time. I loved their ideas.
And Megan made us an awesome electronics bucket:
I think we need a charging station instead...
And did anyone else notice that the sign Megan made said there should be 9 electronic devices in the bucket at night and during family time and there are actually only four?
Here's how the bucket is supposed to work...obviously we're still getting it down.
The plan: Kids come home from school and all phones and iPods are dropped in the bucket. No texting, talking on the phone, iPod, facetime, Words With Friends, facebook, Pandora, or anything else until jobs and homework are finished. Electronics also have to make it in the bucket for family time (meals, prayer, scripture study, Family Home Evening, etc.). Electronics also have to be there at night. And it goes without saying that the one hour a day screen time limit still applies.
I guess it's a battle that doesn't resolve, but our resolve is to keep working on ways to be sure that screen time remains a great tool to connect with our world, but doesn't limit our ability to connect with real people, especially our family!
Wish us luck!