I hope you took a minute to read and an hour to think about the letter from Rene Robinson about understanding, framing, and approaching digital distractions in life and family. No doubt, your situation is unique, and so will the approach be. Below are recommendations you can talk about and readily apply in your family council. If you have other recommendations, please leave a comment below or contact us. We would love to compile a list of recommendations and resources for everyone benefit.
“All happy families resemble one another. All unhappy (distracted) families are unhappy (diverted) in their own way.” Leo Tolstoy
We live in the “instant potato society,” and this instant gratifications is no longer for kings, but for all commoners. It’s not only expected, it’s demanded. In this time of instant gratifications and notifications (news, text, tweet, pins, likes, emails, etc.) it’s increasingly important to understand the constant barrage and creative barriers that need to be placed. This is for parents and children alike. Below are some recommendations.
- Set boundaries for yourselves and your children. Schedule times during the day that you check emails, texts, or social media. Limit their device use based on what works best for you. The late Steve Jobs said that his children were limited to 30 minutes of screen time per day, on all screens (phones, tables, tv, etc.). Another options is to give one power charge of the device per week. This means no charging throughout the week. They get to choose, and learn, how to use their time and limited resources wisely.
- No devices allowed at the dinner table or other important family functions (family night, councils, etc.). Make this a sacred time for conversation as a family. That can be difficult with teenagers who have sports, clubs, etc. during the week where family dinner is scattered, do your best. It’s recommended to have at least one parent eating with a child so they never eat alone and have the parents connection.
- Have a device fast once a month. Perhaps it could coincide with your regular fast.
- Read paper scriptures and leave your devices in another room.
- Instead of watching a movie, go on a hike or a bike ride to enjoy all of the beautiful creations of our creator, Heavenly Father. How can we appreciate them if we don’t show appreciation.
- The non-smart or flip phone might be the smartest device of them all. You might find that one of the smartest guys has one of the dumbest phones. They know how to cut out the noise and clutter in their lives. Their focus is on producing, protecting, and serving, not consuming.
Let’s all make a concerted effort in these areas so that we will be able to have more of a focus in our lives on what’s important, on what we want most, not just what we want now. In the meantime, ponder on the primary song “My Heavenly Father Loves Me?”
1. Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav’nly Father created for me.
2. He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev’rently
For all his creations, of which I’m a part.
Yes, I know Heav’nly Father loves me.
A world of greater complexity requires greater simplicity. Are you a consumer or a producer in this world?