The Unplugged Effect
Two snow days on each end sandwiching a weekend proved to be an ideal experimental bubble on the effects of screen time on our family. I had been cracking down on our boundary of an hour a day max of screen time and none for Ian, our middle schooler, except on non-school nights. Screen time includes time on the computer, the tablet, the iPod, the Kindle (unless you are reading a book), and the television. Without close monitoring, a defiant Weber will sneak more time.
Vigilant, I was prepared for the 96 hours the kids were normally in school and the school routine to put the brakes on any violations.
And I did have to show I meant business when I caught all three watching a cartoon in my husband and my bedroom. The trio had sat on the coach earlier in the morning with the tablet for their hour giggling to YouTube videos. Busted. The penalty of individually cleaning each of our three toilets stifled the momentary pleasure. (I’ll keep you posted if this was an effective deterrent.)
Other than that Ian, Gianna, and Benjamin towed the line with the hourly screen time. They filled their time making snowmen, making snow castles, playing monkey in the middle in the family room, playing a quarter of our board games, drawing, strumming the piano and guitar, building block and lego buildings, battling with army men, cuddleing with the cat and dog, making forts, picking up after themselves, and having lots of fun.
Echoes of laughter and giggles intermingled with a few squeals whenever things got too rough when the boys wrestled. The inevitable over-aggression that partners with excessive screen time was pleasantly absent. The kids got along great without a lot of my intervention and supervision, as I was upstairs working.
It occurred to me watching all three of them laughing when they were making snow men that this was an “unplugged effect”. They were unplugged from the distractions of all of their gadgets and just related to each other fully living in the present moment.
The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Consider if you want more of the “unplugged effect” and take action to have more of it.