These are facts that began haunting my mind when I had my baby. My work has always kept me completely online and screen time can slowly creep into an all-day thing. Even for a disciplined adult, I struggle with this.
But the moment that sweet pudgy hand grabbed my hand in the hospital, I knew that I needed to protect her heart. I knew her innocence deserved me to hold myself accountable.
You see, I hadn’t grown up with screens everywhere I looked. I am probably the last generation that can say this, clocking in as a 26 year-old millennial. My mind was free to develop and imagine and find out the healthy boundaries of rest and work and play and focus.
Even with so many things happening in the world around me (Y2K, Sept 11th, etc), I remained only connected to what my parents told me. And thus, I didn’t grow up with the burden of worry.
But that isn’t a privilege current 10 year olds (or really anyone) has. With an all-day exposure to Instagram comparison, finstagrams (where you can let your ‘true’ and uncontrolled self hang out), constant news reports of imminent nuclear disasters, stabbings around the corner, and disturbing headlines…..gosh darn it, it’s no wonder anxiety is on the rise.
Knowledge is a wonderful tool. But for balance, there has to be a break for us and for our children. The question is…how? Especially when many of us are required to be online for so many reasons.
This is something I’ve thought a lot about. And I’ve been trying desperately to brainstorm ways to teach my daughter that technology CAN be used for good. It CAN be used for mommies like me to work from home. But there must be a boundary.
I’ve concluded that my boundary is when I confuse true rest and work.
And technology has allowed us to step over this boundary. We’ve blurred the line and confused our brain about when it needs to be ‘on.’ What we get is an ever racing, over stimulated brain (and pulse) with no ability to turn off. Anxiety is the only natural next step.
A child can understand that moms or dads should do purposeful things. Even hundreds of years ago, a mom or dad didn’t sit at home and play all day with their kids. They cooked, cleaned, did laundry, took care of the farm, grew their own food and the like. Children are used to seeing work and purpose.
Your mental health needs you to use technology with responsibility
Your future kids need you to use technology with responsibility
But it’s when we blur the lines between this work and our rest that kids get confused. When you’ve worked online all day at your computer and then transition to watch Netflix on that same computer. When you’ve used your phone to make business phone calls and focused Instagram campaigns, but now are using your time to mindlessly scroll. It’s when you pick up your phone 80 times a day to check absolutely nothing.
If you use your technology to give back to the world, to work and to share good, it teaches your children to do the same. If you use technology as your only source of resting, relaxing, and turning off, it also teaches your children to do the same. And phones honestly aren’t a great way to truly rest. We have to lead by example if we want to be well-adjusted….and we have to lead by example if we want well-adjusted kids.
I felt convinced that if I could take away technology during some of our “rest” times, I could teach Amelia that healthy play, imagination, and outside-focused time was possible. A few months back, I started this hashtag on social media and began my journey with those who follow me.
And it’s been incredible. Every Friday night, I delete (or hide) my Instagram, Facebook, and email apps (anything that allows me to scroll). From Friday night to Sunday night, I stay off these apps.
I felt convinced that if I could take away technology during our “rest” times, I could teach Amelia that healthy play, imagination, and outside focused time was possible. A few months back, I started this hashtag on social media and started sharing my journey with those who follow me.
It has completely changed our family’s life. We have spent more time with friends, more time with each other, and more time outside. Mostly, we are just more intentional. We don’t feel ‘blah’ on the weekends, but have set plans and exciting things to do and ideas for activities.
And it’s even crept into our weekdays. When we don’t have PM work hours, we’ve started leaving our phones on the counter after 8pm so we won’t check them.
I have a pretty intense job and life with lots going on, but if I can manage to turn my phone off for certain times, I believe lots of people can. You don’t need to be accessible 24/7.
If more of society participated in intentional discipline, for their own sake and their kids, anxiety rates would go down. Loss of self and purpose wouldn’t be as big of an issue. And we would all get the REST we need.
So, the challenge
The average American spends over HALF of their day online. This means HALF of your life is being given to screens.
Can I ask….do you feel better after being on your phone? Do you think your life may be better with scheduled breaks to re-learn to rest, imagine, and play again? Do you think your kids or future kids’ lives could be better too? If you don’t struggle with any of this, ignore this blog post. I’m proud of you! And if different times work to take off, you do YOU! This isn’t a judgement post. It’s accountability for myself and a ‘hey, let’s do this together’ post.
But if you’re like me.…then I challenge you to participate in #takebacktheweekend. If you’d like, snap photos with your phone on the weekend for the memories, but don’t use it for anything else (unless you need to make an emergency call/text.) If you are someone who loves to share, you can always share the photos on Monday with the hashtag and encourage others to join in.
Your mental health needs you to use technology with responsibility.
Your future kids need you to use technology with responsibility.
And I promise, you will find so much rest and joy in taking back your weekend.
If you’d be interested in trying out #takebacktheweekend THIS weekend, I’d love to send you something.
Do two things for me:
Post this Friday that you are ‘signing off’ your social media for the weekend. Share why and the hashtag.
Sign this form & I’ll send you a note and a small gift.
*Unfortunately our postage doesn’t reach outside of the U.S. & Canada, but we’d still love you to participate!
Let’s take back our weekend and find intentional ways to cultivate REAL rest.
NY Post. https://nypost.com/2017/11/08/americans-check-their-phones-80-times-a-day-study/