The relationship between children and technology is a hot topic for parents all over the world. In an era when more and more parts of our lives are intrinsically linked with the screens that surround us and it can be hard even for adults to keep your feet grounded in the real world. It effects us socially, mentally and physiologically, and time spent staring at our phones can have a major impact on basic interpersonal skills. For these reasons, excessive use of screens can have an even more profound effect on young developing minds.
The question every parent ponders- Should we restrict our children’s access to screens?
Molly DeFrank is one mother who has called a stop to her children’s use of screens, and the effect on her family has been astounding.
As she states on her website that she had noticed the negative effects of screens on her children:
“It turns out that screens were doing to my children exactly what the studies claimed they were doing: cultivating distracted, grumpy and argumentative little people.”
The last straw for Molly was when she got home from running errands and rather than greeting her on her return, her children immediately asked to play on her phone.
“Not “Hi!” Not “Mommy!!!” Simply, “Hey, electronics gatekeeper. Gimme my next fix.””- Molly
Molly has five children under the age of ten, so beginning the process was no easy task. The process of screen-detoxing started as a 30 day project, but the positive results emerged so quickly that soon they found that they were simply better off without the gadgets.
When Molly and her husband announced the decision to ban screens altogether, there was a brief but strong revolt. The kids were not happy about it!
However, it didn’t take too long before the kids embraced the new rules.
In fact, as Molly describes, even the children have gotten fully behind the screen-free life.
“Quitting was shockingly easy, surprisingly sustainable, and my nine year old daughter has told me on several occasions that she’s glad we’ve cut them out.”
Now, the kids are all more than willing to spend their time turning pages rather than scrolling.
One image in particular of Molly’s screen-free tribe has garnered a lot of attention online. It features the five kids and hubby, all reading in bed first thing on a Saturday morning. When the kids woke up to find that Mom and Dad were reading in bed, instead of turning on the TV or playing video games, they each grabbed their books and joined them.
Molly writes in her Facebook post along with the picture:
A few Saturdays into our screen detox, my kids woke up one by one and saw my husband and I reading in bed. They grabbed their own books and joined us. At restaurants they bring a stack of books instead of propped ipads. My daughter has grown five reading levels in seven months.
Now that is some wholesome Saturday morning fun!
Molly acknowledges that removing all technology is not necessarily a complete answer.
“Technology can of course be useful—in its right place. The key is making technology work for us, rather than the other way around.”
Well that sounds like a very healthy attitude, and a good one for impressionable children to abide by. Now her children play outside, are proactive and even make up their own schools where her son teaches the rest of the family art. There is definitely something to be learnt from Molly’s approach to ditching the screens. It may be a hard rule to get your kids on board with, but then it seems it brings only good.
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I can’t recommend a family screen overhaul enough. Have you tried it? What happened?
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Source: Molly DeFrank