I don’t know what happens at your house, but at our house, we have a problem with moderating electronic devices. Rules are in place, and mostly followed, but I don’t like the way my children would rather sit in front of a screen instead of go outside and play, read a book, play with toys, play games, or even play with friends. In fact, when they are with friends, they often want to sit in front of a screen.
Granted, we’ve had that Polar Vortex thing and going outside was not an option. But we still have plenty of books in this house. We also have plenty of American Girl Dolls and Barbies. We even have an extensive collection of board games. In short, there is no shortage of indoor activities in our home that do not involve a screen.
Yet the screens—iPod, iPad, iPhone, computer, television–are always the first choice. Even for the adults in the house. And I’m sick of it.
The Maestro and I decided to address this little issue in a Family Home Evening recently, and I wanted to share what we did with you.
I based the lesson on this wonderful talk by Elder David A. Bednar: Things as They Really Are. It’s a very long talk as it comes from a BYU Devotional, but it’s worth the read. I read it myself and pulled out a few things to discuss with the kids, but I focused on the two questions at the end:
Does the use of this technology or media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
Does the time you spend using this technology or media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?
We showed the kids this video which includes several excerpts from the talk, but most importantly the aforementioned two questions.
I made a handout for each of the girls to put somewhere where they can be reminded. In order to make it, I had to text myself from my daughter’s iPod and yes, there is an autocorrect mistake in it that I didn’t catch. It just makes it all the more realistic, right?
|To download a .PDF of this handout click HERE.|
After our discussion, we had each member of the family come up with a few alternatives to sitting in front of a screen and we wrote them out on a poster which is now hanging in the kitchen.
Just in case you don’t feel like deciphering everyone’s handwriting, here is our list:
- Read a book
- You can do a lot of other stuff instead of playing on electronics (I’m not sure my youngest understood the activity right away…or she just wanted to be all-inclusive!)
- We could be more physically active
- We could play fun games together
- We could do art or a craft
- Doing our zones and cleaning our “temple” home.
- Practice our instruments
- Cook something with our family
- We could play with Puccini
Have we had a miraculous reduction in electronics usage? Nope. But we did have a wonderful discussion with the girls and they all understood the reasons why we should honor our physical bodies more and not spend so much of our lives in front of screens. And I think they’re trying to make sure that what they are doing on their devices is conducive to the Holy Spirit.
I do have a 7-year-old who is still having regular fits that she can’t be on electronics as much as she’d like. But even she is working on it. Baby steps, right?
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