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Missing Moments Because of Screens?

missing moments because of screens

It was a beautiful day to head to the beach.  My family got into our minivan, joined by another family in their minivan.  We both left from our home at the same time.

But our families would have a vastly different view on the way to the beach.

Both of our vans were close together as we drove down the highway.  Suddenly from behind us, three motorcycles sped up and passed us.  Right before our eyes, one of them popped a wheelie.  The other motorcycle which had two riders took the challenge and did the same.  We felt like we were watching a daredevil show from the comfort of our own minivan.  Interstate 805 had never been so exciting!

We followed those motorcycles for miles, hoping to see more of the show.  We weren’t disappointed as they popped more wheelies and finally zoomed off the exit ramp with great fanfare.

When we reached the beach, we excitedly said to our friends, “Wow, that was amazing!  Could you believe those motorcycles?”  The kids stared blankly at us.  They had missed the whole thing.  They were watching a DVD from the backseat and hadn’t even noticed the motorcycles.

Same ride.  Totally different experience.

Do you ever wonder if life is happening all around your child, but it goes unnoticed because he or she is buried in a video game?

If we’re not mindful as parents, our kids can miss many beautiful moments because of a preoccupation with screens.  (Ouch, that’s true for us adults too…)

On another occasion, my family went on a whale watching cruise.  When that whale fin finally appeared out of the water, we caught it.  But dozens of children missed it.  They were playing with their devices inside the cabin.

There is so much in life to be missed when you are glued to a screen.  It’s not just about those special moments like seeing a whale’s fin or watching motorcycles pop wheelies.  It’s about the everyday moments and chances to catch your child’s eye and smile.  It’s about allowing your children to experience boredom, so they can learn how to be creative themselves.

A world that is dominated by screens is a false world that revolves around pleasing your child.  If your child doesn’t like something on a device, he can just move onto the next thing.  Real life certainly isn’t characterized by endless options, drop down menus, and constant pleasure. 

We miss out as parents too when we’re too busy on our computers to look up.  My youngest child started kindergarten this year.  On the rug downstairs, she’s lined up toy cars and planes in a T formation.

My older kids don’t do that anymore.

I realize my time as a mom is fleeting, and I don’t want to end up missing moments because I’m too engaged with my screens.



image003 Today, we’re giving away a copy of Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane’s new book, Growing Up Social: Raising Kids in a Screen-Driven World!

To enter, simply follow the instructions below.  And if you’d like to learn a little more about the book, check out the video trailer beneath the giveaway directions.

Good luck!

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  1. I regulate screen time for my kids by using a timer and limiting how long they are on the computer and/or ipod. Most days(unless it’s school work), 20 minutes is the max. For me, I get up very early to read the blogs I like before the kids are even up. Then, I look at email later in the day when they are at school. thx

  2. Oh, this is so true! I need help with this. The pull of the screen is so strong, for my whole family, including me, and I need some guidance on how to fight it off.

    1. I will say we’ve done well with after school times, not letting the kids get on until a certain time. But the pull and the requests to have screen time are always there.

  3. Ouch! We used to regulate screen time for the kids more but have been lax lately. And we definatley don’t regulate our own screen time! I’m definalely convicted and have some thinking and planning to do! Thank you:-)

  4. We definitely should limit more, though as my boys are older, technology is absolutely necessary for their school work and homework. Because of a big technology grant, every student in our District received a Macbook this fall! BUT – we have never allowed phones or other electronics at any meal, and aside from homework, phones and other technology is has to be put away well before bedtime…

  5. Thank you for this article. I am so thankful that all of this technology wasn’t as prevalent when I was raising my children as it is today. I am passing your posts on to the young mothers in our church who so desperately need guidelines and boundaries in this area and to know how to teach them to our children and grandchildren. Thank you again!

  6. While we do not have a “rule” that regulates screen time, we are thankful to have Netflix. We simply say how many shows the kids can watch in one sitting (usually 1 or 2) and, since there are no commercials, we know they will only be there a few minutes. So far, they are not that “into” iPads and computers, so we haven’t had to cross that bridge yet.

  7. My kids know they have to ask for screen time- we have a rule no screen time for car rides, during dinner or other family outings. At home, they have to complete all school work, play outside and help with chores before earning any screen time- and some days they don’t get any at all.

  8. I am still learning how to regulate my kids screen time. If it is a nice day I will take them outside to play. If it’s a school night (for my school age daughter) I’ll have her spend 30 minutes reading to keep her off her tablet. Thanks for sharing!!! I hope I can learn more on ideas on this one!

  9. We don’t allow electronics during the week and regulate the time of play on the weekends carefully.

  10. iPad is a special, rare privilege for at home or with grandma. TV sometimes used during rest time, typically when I know it’s better than the alternative, with myself being so exhausted.

  11. How do I relegate screen time? Sadly I don’t. Sometimes, I think, “hey he’s been quiet for a while.” Or “where is —?” On his/her screen. Perhaps I need this book more than I realize.

  12. I agree with you completely! A few years ago, we were on vacation and every night we went to the beach to watch the sun set. We couldn’t believe how beautiful it was! Breathtaking, actually. We snapped pictures and pointed and shared the experience as a family. There were lots of other people around us on the beach and at least 3/4 of them were looking down at a screen versus looking up at the sunset. So sad… We’re definitely missing out on more of live than we realize when we allow this to happen. 🙁

  13. So true! My son gets frustrated because I try to limit screen time. I constantly hear I’m bored, and I often cringe at that word.

  14. I just told my 17 year old son today we need to go back to the days that life wasn’t revolved around these phones and video games. We are all guilty of it. It makes it that much harder when school work requires the kids to use their phones and computers/iPads/tablets so much and the schools encourage the chrome books and iPads so text books can go digital. From middle school on up the kids are encouraged to use their phones in some classes. I don’t agree with that especially for an Algebra class and had my daughter transferred to another class.

  15. We has “no electronics” (except for homework) policy during the week. And we allow our son to use the kindle for limited time in the weekend. He can also collect “electronic time coupon” for doing extra work around the house. Thanks for this great article.

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