The Homeschool Minute ~ Taming the Tech Monster - The Old Schoolhouse

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The Homeschool Minute ~ Taming the Tech Monster

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Taming the Tech Monster
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

Have you found that computers, smart phones, tablets, gaming–in a word, technology–beckons you and begs to overtake more important things? Does it become an escape from those things that are waiting to be done, but you don’t want to tackle them right now? The entertainment, fellowship and distraction that technology provides can be addicting and time-consuming. Here are some guidelines our family has:

  • Screen time is a privilege, therefore, is only allowed when all other school work and chores are done, and only for a short period of time.
     
  • The younger the child is, the less screen time they should have (for developmental reasons). If under 6 years old, we allow 10 minutes or less on a hand-held device, and one 30-minute video per day. Ages 6-12 years, 20 minutes of screen time (includes gaming), and one hour video per day. Teens: depends on the responsibility of the teen.
     
  • If a school subject calls for computer usage (which does not count as their reward time on the screen) a parent needs to know when, where, and how long. The student is not allowed to go to ANY site without permission. Teach your kids the online dangers of technology. No chat rooms or private messaging without parental supervision.
     
  • All bedroom doors must remain open when on a computer or hand-held device. It is safest to keep technology use in open areas.
     
  • Devices should not charge in a child’s room at night, but in an open area away from bedrooms.
     
  • Put guards/filters on your wi-fi router and/or parental controls on all devices.
     
  • Non-school days, no screen time until children have been creative or productive or been outdoors first. Computers should not take the place of imaginative play, or creative activity.
     
  • Older children may need more screen time for class assignments. Talk to them about being distracted by less important things and the many traps associated with technology.
     
  • Extra screen time is allowed on occasion, but the child must first do something for the family like an extra chore, help a sibling, or helping prep a meal. Sometimes, the kids have a “laundry party” and fold loads while watching a video.
     
  • If there is any disrespect, grumbling or complaining, one of the first things to go is electronics. Being grounded from all electronics for a day or two, really makes the children think about their “real life” actions.
     
  • Moms need time limits, too. It’s too easy to let that blog or social media use up valuable time. Instead of interacting with our children or doing what needs to be done in real life, we are interacting with a screen. We can easily click our way into frustration as other things pile up. Kids are frustrated that they don’t have our full attention. Setting an evening screen time can be a reward for a day filled with real life ministry.

We could lose valuable time that we can never get back. We could easily let another day go by where we haven’t done something for the spiritual life of the home, or spent time talking with that child that needs our attention. After all, it’s easy to check out of real life for the momentary pleasure of technology in all its forms. Sometimes we just have to say, “No!” to ensure the best and highest use of our time. It’s being a good steward of the hours in the day that God has given us.

Take control of the technology beast before it takes control of you and your family. Let’s do what Ephesians 5:16 says and, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

 
~Deborah

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Raising Real Men    
 


“How do I tame the tech monster?” is one of the most common questions we get. Parents tell us all their children want to know is when they can get back to their game or movie. Other parents tell us they don’t allow any technology into their homes and won’t let their kids have any access until they’re adults.

What’s the balance?

Granted, it’s tough to control it when you can hand them the device and know they’ll be quiet, still, and satisfied and you can get some of your own work done. We’ve struggled with this ourselves. If you say no, they whine and whine.

So, how do you get them off their seats and away from the screens?

Just do it. Start with a screen-free day or evening. One night a week, make everyone put away their laptops, smartphones, and everything else and have some family time. Play board games. Talk. If you can’t stand it, watch a movie together and talk about it. At least you’ll be doing something together. Having their parents free and available will make your kids less likely to complain, too.

Ignore their complaints. For complain they will when you tell them, “Put it away and go play.” Expect it and ignore it. If they get too whiny, give them a job every time they complain. That pretty much takes care of it!

The amazing thing is that within a few hours, they always seem to start thinking and imagining again. They build play forts. They pretend to run a restaurant. They pick up a book.

That’s why you’ve got to limit technology. It’s too easy to just sit and absorb the movie or get lost in a game. Real life is harder and messier, and it first, it doesn’t seem as exciting. It’s important to their development, though, to engage reality-even the dreaded concept of boredom.

If you have older kids who are gaming for hours at a time, you may have a more difficult time ahead of you. Gaming can be physically addicting, really. It’ll take some convincing and a lot of support to help them get it in balance if it’s out of control. Here’s a blog article we wrote that talks more about this.
http://www.raisingrealmen.com/2014/01/oh-murder-what-parents-need-to-know-about-teen-brains-and-the-new-games/

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. It’s super-easy to find yourself at one of the extremes on this. It’s tempting when it seems too hard to control this stuff is to pitch it out entirely. We know parents who won’t let their kids have any technology at all until they’re adults. We think this is a bad idea.

Our children need to learn to use technology wisely before they leave our homes. They need to learn not to be obsessed with it. They need to learn what’s safe online and what’s not. They need to learn to resist temptation. Giving them access appropriate for their age and the accountability and instruction they need will be a protection to them when they leave our homes.

Like everything else in parenting, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Handling media well is one of the things we talk about in our online classes for parents, Boot Camp 9-12 for parents of preteens
http://raisingrealmen.com/bootcamp, Boyhood Boot Camp for parents of younger boys http://raisingrealmen.com/boyhood, and PreFlight for teens and their parents http://raisingrealmen.com/preflight.

Your friends,

Hal & Melanie Young
info@raisingrealmen.com 

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