As a family we have been trying, on and off, to control and limit my son’s screen time. (We never had this problem with our older daughters who grew up with much less technology than is now available to my son.) Often, we’ve imposed restrictions on his viewing time and, for a while, they work. Then, when the fury passes, we forget our intentions and he’s back on as strong as ever. Recently, I’ve tried to take the focus off him and place it squarely on all of us: this is a family problem.
So, what we’re doing now is that everyone unplugs for at least an hour every night. I am hoping to gradually add 10 minutes a week until we reach a daily count of 2 hours off screens. Although we’ve had some success with this expectation, it hasn’t been perfect. Nevertheless, it feels better than what we’ve tried previously. During our time off screens, all of us are engaged in other activities.
But, of course, when you solve one issue, another one tends to surface.
Now, the car has become a place for plugging in and tuning out. When we’re in the car, my son is usually plugged into his iPad. He has his ear buds on and is listening to…something. I honestly hadn’t bothered to ask him what he was listening to until a few days ago. It turns out he was listening to music. Well, no more tuning out in the car either!. He now has to choose between taking off his ear buds and doing something else or sharing his music with the rest of us.
We are now listening to his music on our 35 minute commute. So far, the last two days have been pleasurable. I am discovering musicians that I’d never heard of before. My son and I are talking more and though he’s a little reticent to share his music with me (I chalk it up to the onslaught of puberty), it is still happening.
Having a no screen zone, at least for part of the day, and in certain places, is making a difference.
I can’t wait to ride in the car tomorrow and listen to some more awesome music.