Time For Tech Breaks! 

- May 17, 2022 -

WORDS: Christa Hardin, MA

Not taking tech breaks is one surefire way that summer will come and go in the blink of an eye. This isn’t news to you, of course. We all KNOW we need them.  

We’ve seen the stats as well. Too much screen time poses several potential negative consequences, including vision impairment, sleeplessness, anxiety, and even addiction to the device itself (regiscollege.edu). 

And yet virtually everyone uses it – a lot! My family is not exempt. Right now, I’m using it to write this article. It’s convenient, and it’s savvy, right?  

To bring it directly to us even further, 75% of families have kids with their own devices. Even if they’re strict, 98% use it for school! 

However, (and thank goodness for the “however” here!) summer is a time when we can allow and even steer our kids to use tech less. 

Indeed, if we don’t monitor and break up our family’s usage in times like this, we all suffer, especially our children, who are born into the hyper-modern tech world, and try to navigate it with as much grace as possible. Believe me; they are trying and talking about it amongst themselves as they too become overwhelmed. 

I also don’t want any of you or them to feel condemned as we navigate this. I just want to remind us ALL that there are so many things we miss right in front of us each summer when we don’t set some limits for ourselves or these precious kids whose brains are still forming. 

So, instead of letting them spend their entire summer on tech, as you roll into the rest of your summer, make sure to have a family meeting and set some rules around it.  

If you’re concerned about talking about this with the family, you’re not alone. Almost half of parents struggle with having a tech conversation with their kids. I get it. It may feel a little too close to Diary of A Wimpy Kid’s parents’ life for comfort, but the truth is, the parents in that movie are good parents overall, and the kids do get an interesting summer because the parents set limits and risked being thought of as uncool. 

Here are some reasonable ways you and the kids can take a tech break this summer. 

  1. Get phones out only after morning fitness or mediation. 
  2. Turn tech in at night.  
  3. Use tech smarter. Turn on Alexa or Pandora for mid-afternoon music and art instead of just individual time with phones, Air Pods, or gaming.  
  4. Put phones in another room on the charger during the day for one-hour time frames. 
  5. Get books out and go to Barnes and Noble at UTC, the Goodwill bookstore near Tara, or your local library with phones out of reach (yours too!). Read aloud together at home afterward or for a little each afternoon or night. Use audiobooks if you prefer but only if you can focus. 
  6. Get out in nature and walk. Children get creative and healthy when they spend more time in nature and get moving. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, children who spend more time indoors are more likely to develop nearsightedness (myopia). Suppose you’re working and can’t do a lot of this. Ask sitters or relatives to help integrate these tips or sign the kids up for a week-long camp.  

None of us are perfect at this. Just make the most of the occasional day off and take a deep breath. Give yourself grace as you navigate these interesting waters along with the rest of us!

Related Articles