Monday, July 9, 2018

Tech detox

beautiful things can happen when we disconnect from tech
- but its not always easy

Usually I talk about detoxing from everyday exposure to harmful chemicals but equally as important for many children ( and parents especially!) is detoxing from electronics.

We are a generation addicted to being connected all the time- constantly checking emails, Instagram and Facebook and twitter. We have access to news and information all day and our children are growing up with parents that are connected to tech all day long and that are disconnected - often- from their children.

Kids who abuse screen time are more likely to suffer from everything from chronic irritability, mood disregulation, inattention, speech delays etc. Mobile technology also has the added danger of commutative exposure to EMF radiation.  Unfortunately, screen time continues to rise- just mobile media time  for zero-to-eight year-olds has tripled between 2013 and 2017, from an average of 15 minutes per day to 48 minutes per day. Tweens log an average of four hours and 36 minutes of screen time per day, and teens spend an average of six hours and 40 minutes on a screen. 

Knowing all of this, we have somewhat strict rules at home regarding screen time. In a nutshell: no tv or screens during the week- these can only be used ( usually for a max of 2 hours per day) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The boys choose if they want to use their time on video games or tv or movies. Special circumstances do arise that allow for bending the rules ( ie if mom or kids are sick or just really tired and usually when the grandparents visit) but, generally, we all know the rules.

This summer, however, during our week long trip to Iceland we decided to implement a no screen policy for the entire trip ( excluding the 10 hour plane ride- we are not masochists!). Considering we drove around Iceland a lot ( almost every single day we were in the car between 3-5 hours) it meant a lot to not allow the kids to use their ipads.

Was it worth it?

Yes!!! My boys play a lot- but it was spectacular to watch their bond grow even stronger on this trip. They invented and sang songs, they made up stories, they played legos and super hero games. They went on exploration hikes “ on their own” ( we were close by) and then played make believe that they were glacier explorers. They played school and the older one encouraged the little one when he got the right answers, they colored, they read.

Did they fight? Yes. A fair amount too- i won't lie I had to physically hold them apart from the front seat of the car on a couple of occasions.

Did it get loud? Very loud. On occasion their make believe games and songs got so loud my husband and I could not hold a conversation

Was it relaxing for my husband and I ? Truthfully, it would have been more relaxing to hand them an ipad and enjoy the silence.

Do I regret it? Not really. I mean, I felt like I needed a relaxing quiet ( solo) vacation when I returned home BUT I also felt the benefits; the creativity, free play, sibling connection and family conversations outweighed the sibling bickering, loudness ( its always loud in my house- that might just be my two boys though- some kids are just quieter) and exhaustion from when there was fighting and overstimulation. I really do.

Have you ever implemented a tech detox at home?  What were the results?  I would love to hear about it!

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