We have seen the great advancement that is offered to us by technology. The things that were not available to us in the past are now in great abundance via computers and cell phones. Technology is expected to connect us and to make sure that we have the best kind of experience for every single individual. At the very least technology is what we use to make our lives easier.
However, the story becomes different when it comes to how technology is no longer connecting families. With technology connecting us to the rest of the world, there are some families that forget to connect with each other.
According to recent studies kids as well as teenagers now spend more than seven hours a day on their screen, and with the increasing screen time, a teenager can get more depressed and more disconnected. While the research is still very limited, this is very troubling.
We have seen what technology can do best and what technology can do worst. But what can we do to make technology work for us the right way? The answer is by simply unplugging and controlling technology rather than controlling us.
When we unplug even just for certain hours a day or even just for one weekend a month, we can create a big difference regarding their experience as children. What should parents do? Let us answer this question.
Get Frank with The Conversation
One of the things that parents can do is to get frank with the conversation. It is important that they discuss technology rules with the children. Parents need to put their foot down and set the right ground rules for themselves and for their children to go device-free and reconnect with each other.
Parents can start by having a conversation that leads to a trial period of at least one weekend of being unplugged from technology and screen time. This is where the conversation on how to unplug for the weekend comes in. What do you do for the weekend? Let us look at the answers.
Unplugging your Family for The Weekend
Start with A Magazine
We believe that going cold turkey is not the right way for you to start any process. If you want to start the process right, you need to first get your children used to being entertained without any use of technology. This is where Creation Illustrated magazine can come in and provide family-friendly entertainment that each and every member of the family will enjoy.
You can start by requiring your children to read the Bible or discuss a specific Bible story that taught them a lesson. If a Bible is too overwhelming for you and your kids, you can always explore Creation Illustrated magazine that provides uplifting lessons found in nature.
Explain the Reason for The Decision
While your children may not have the emotional maturity, some of them already have the mental maturity to accept that technology is impacting their lives negatively when they do not control the amount of screen time that they give it. As parents, you need to lay the foundation as well as a good example for your children to use less technology.
You should discuss this with your kids and let them know that the main goal, while you are unplugging, is for you to reconnect the family in a loving way, and your children would totally understand that you are wanting to do what is best for them rather than just taking technology away.
Have an Engaging Activity for the Weekend
You do not need to start big when it comes to unplugging your family you just need to start. We recommend that after your weekend off of technology requiring your children to read a magazine or open their Bible, you can always provide an activity for the weekend without spending money.
The activity that you will enjoy with your kids would depend primarily on their age and other specific aspects relating to their personalities. You may teach them a new hobby that they’re interested in, or you may enroll as a family in a class where you would learn without the use of technology such as woodworking, gardening, or bird watching. The point is that you should engage in activities for the weekend that would not require your children to open their cell phones.
There should be a nonnegotiable confiscation of the cellular phones or tablets that your children may have. They need to know that there is no way that they can open their technology even if they threw a tantrum or two. Let them know that you are in charge by taking away their tablets and cell phones or by changing the Wi-Fi password that you control.
Make It Mildly Competitive
Your children are probably somewhat competitive with each other if they are at that age. Use this to your advantage by seeing who among your children can go the longest without taking up their phones and rewarding such behavior by giving them something that makes them happy and is specific to them. The reward however should not be related to screen time increase or to the use of more gadgets compared to the other siblings.
Share A Screen with Your Family
Unplugging for the weekend does not necessarily mean that you do not need any kind of technology. It just means that you need to control the kind of technology that you allow your children to use. There may be a movie you can all watch together which demonstrates that you are controlling the technology.
Get Active with Your Family
One way that you can all unplug as a family is to get active with your physical activities. You can schedule a trip to the park, go for a hike, go on a scavenger hunt for things in nature, or repair or build something for the home like a bookshelf, tree swing, or paint one of their bedrooms. You can schedule a fun day at a mall if you have teenagers who want to shop or who just want to spend time at the mall — without cell phones. Physical activities and simple outings with your children would allow them to see that there is a world beyond social media and beyond what they see on their screens.
Find A Way to Give Back
Helping youth focus on others is an important step to get them away from focusing on themselves and their cell phones. Let them go through their belonging and find something to give away to help others. Or they can raise money by doing chores for neighbors then spend at least half of that money on feeding the poor. Or perhaps they can cook a meal together and take it to an elderly person or poor family. Your whole family will feel they made a helpful contribution to society and will gain a sense of purpose and well-being without the stimulation of technology or screen time.